Cooper to announce reopening plan for schools next week

Published 5:19 pm Thursday, July 9, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday afternoon he will will announce a schools reopening plan next week along with details about Phase Three of the state’s reopening, which is set to begin July 17.

School districts across the state, including Stanly County Schools, have been developing three reopening plans. Plans include in-person instruction with minimal social distancing (Plan A), a hybrid of in-person and online learning with moderate social distancing (Plan B) and full-time online learning (Plan C).

SCS has been working on drafts this week for the three different reopening plans. School districts can use a more restrictive plan, but not a less restrictive one.

“We are working diligently to plan the best options for our students and staff,” said interim superintendent Vicki Calvert in a email to the Stanly News and Press. “We have reviewed feedback received from the community, students and staff.  The governor’s decision will have a tremendous impact on the direction we will take.”

Cooper said when the state makes an announcement about schools next week, the announcement will include information on face coverings in schools. He also emphasized the plan announced could be a combination of in-person and remote learning.

“We want our schools to be safe for students and for teachers and the plan that we’re going to put forward works toward that goal,” Cooper said.

“We’re going to have a culmination of all this work that has gone on among teachers, superintendents and health officials,” Cooper added. “It’s going to be something that follows the law, and it’s going to be something that gets our kids back into school safely.”

He has repeatedly stressed that his top priority is making sure schools open for in-person instruction in August.

While North Carolina has continued to see an increase in coronavirus cases (the state topped 1,000 hospitalizations for the first time Thursday), it’s not nearly as severe as other states like Florida, Arizona and Texas, which have had to pause or backtrack their reopening plans in order to combat the virus.

North Carolina reported 81,331 confirmed cases Friday and 1,479 deaths. Stanly has 538 confirmed cases, 137 of which are still active.

“We know that they need to get back in school, they need to do it in a safe way, and that can be a combination of in-person learning and remote learning, depending on the circumstances and depending on the students,” Cooper said, adding that reopening schools, especially doing it safely, has been “a tough call.”

When asked a question about what schools would do if students or teachers get in close contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus, DHHS secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said they would need to stay home and quarantine for 14 days and get tested.

In order to help reduce the risk of viral transmission in schools, Cohen said face coverings and social distancing are important.

SCS has already said that masks will be required for all middle and high school students and staff if some form of in-person instruction occurs, along with daily temperature checks for all students, staff and visitors as they enter the school.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

email author More by Chris