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Bill passed by Cooper allows school districts to shift to remote learning if necessary due to COVID-19

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill into law this week that will give public school districts more power when deciding about the need to shift schools to remote learning.

Senate Bill 654, which Cooper signed on Monday, will give public school districts the authority to make decisions regarding when schools or even individual classrooms can shift to temporary remote instruction due to COVID-19 exposures.

The bill, which was initially filed in April, notes that each district has to report the shift by a school or classroom from in-person to temporary remote instruction to the Department of Public Instruction within 72 hours and should return to in-person learning as soon staff are available or quarantine is over.

The passage of the bill comes as COVID-19 cases and quarantines have begun to rapidly increase in numerous districts in the region, including Union, Cabarrus and Rowan. Without any clear guidance from the state, much of the instruction for students working from home has been left to individual schools and teachers.

SCS hopes to have a COVID-19 dashboard on its website by the end of the school week, with updated numbers on how many students and staff have tested positive and are currently in quarantine.

The bill also included another section which talks about mask mandates.

Section 10 of the bill states that for the 2021-22 school year, all public schools shall adopt a policy regarding the use of face coverings by employees and students.

The bill says school districts need to vote at least once a month on whether the face-covering policy should be modified.

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.

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