The first day of school for children in the North Carolina public school system has been set as August 17, about six weeks away.
Other than that not much is known about how the school year will be handled. Gov. Roy Cooper, who is making all the decisions for the state under his Emergency Management Act powers, was supposed to announce on July 1 what the plan was for the state, but he didn’t and he set no deadline for himself on when he would make the decision.
When asked what Guilford County Schools was going to do, Guilford County Board of Education member Anita Sharpe said, “I don’t know.”
Sharpe said that three plans had been presented. Basically plan A would be a full reopening, plan B would be a combination of in-school classes and virtual classes, and plan C would be all virtual classes.
Sharpe said that there was a committee of 100 people appointed by Guilford County School Superintendent Sharon Contreras working on plans for all three contingencies.
Sharpe said, “I get no input.”
She added, “I don’t know if we’ll get to vote on it.”
One of the issues is that there are so many possible variations of a partial reopening and the schools, with six weeks left before the first day, are supposed to be able to implement whatever Cooper decides.
Republican candidate for North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt presented her plan for reopening schools on Tuesday, June 30 – the day before Cooper was supposed to announce his plan.
Truitt’s plan would let Cooper off the hook, because from a political standpoint it is a lose-lose proposition for Cooper. Polls show that close to one-third of the people in the state favor plan A, one third favor B and one third favor C. So if Cooper picks any of the three, two thirds of the state is going to think he made the wrong choice.
Truitt’s plan is to let the individual school districts decide what will work best in their school districts.
Truitt said, “North Carolina is a large, diverse state, and one size simply does not fit all. Local school board members and superintendents know the needs and challenges facing their communities far better than someone sitting inside the Raleigh beltway. It is imperative that we allow local leaders to make local decisions, that parents be engaged in the process, and that our re-opening plan give students the hope they need to succeed.”