Gov. Roy Cooper announced that schools in North Carolina would reopen under a modified Plan B – which requires schools to operate at 50 percent capacity – on Tuesday, July 14.
Cooper was supposed to make the announcement about school reopening that by state law is set for Monday, August 17, on July 1, but delayed that decision for two weeks. This gives schools barely a month to handle the logistics of operating at 50 percent capacity, requiring teachers, students and staff to all wear face masks and requiring school buses to carry no more than one child per seat, to name a couple of the restrictions.
Schools can choose to adopt Plan C, which is only virtual and no classroom instruction, like the order that went in to place March 14, closing all the schools in the state and requiring that all classes be taught virtually.
Cooper said that he had the power to ignore the state law that required in classroom instruction to begin on August 17.
Republican leaders of the state legislature were not shy about denouncing Cooper’s decision.
NC Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) in a press release said, “Gov. Cooper’s plan gets students halfway to where they need to be. But much like jumping over a creek, halfway doesn’t cut it.
“The Governor’s plan makes worse the very inequities a public school system is supposed to resolve. Students whose parents do not have the time or resources to supplement ‘virtual’ schooling will fall even further behind simply because of the condition of their birth. That’s an unspeakable travesty.
“And parents who do not have the privilege of working from home can’t take off every other day from work. What are they supposed to do?
“The Governor permits parents to choose full remote learning – he must also permit parents to choose full in-person learning as well.
“I also have serious questions about the requirement for masks on five-year-olds, which contradicts the Cooper Administration’s own guidance for child care centers. What happens when a kindergartner removes a mask? Does the Governor really expect teachers to have any chance of enforcing this mandate?”