North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, who has been ruling the state since March by executive order, announced Thursday, Sept. 17 that he would allow elementary students to go back to school under plan A starting Oct. 5.

Plan A has minimal social distancing requirements and will allow K-5 students to be in school five days a week. Under the regulations, Plan B is the least restrictive plan allowed, which requires capacity restrictions that don’t allow all the students to attend school on the same days.

Students will be required to wear masks and other safety precautions will be in place, but this would allow the elementary students in the state to be in actual classrooms with teachers every day.

Cooper said the decision was based on science, but many have stated that politics has a lot more to do with Cooper’s COVID-19 restrictions than science.

On Wednesday, Sept. 16, President Pro Tem of the state Senate Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and Republican candidate for superintendent of public instruction Catherine Truitt, along with a number of parents, called on Cooper to provide all parents with the option of full-time, in-person instruction for their children.

On Thursday, after Cooper’s announcement, in a press release Forest, who is the Republican candidate for governor, said, “Yesterday, Gov. Cooper said it was dangerous to talk about reopening schools. Today, he said it was OK – at least for some schools. What changed?

“It does not need to be this complicated. Private schools in North Carolina have already figured out how to reopen safely. So have a majority of other states.

“It’s time to reopen all of our schools to give parents the option of in-person learning. Now.”

Also on Thursday in a press release Berger said, “Parents, teachers, and students are at their wits end struggling to try to make virtual learning work. This announcement from Gov. Cooper is a step in the right direction, but he needs to provide all parents with the option of full-time, in-person instruction. His new plan ignores the needs of low-income and exceptional students in middle and high schools for in-person instruction. We continue to hear that these decisions are being made based on ‘science.’  What is the science that says it’s safe for 5th graders to be in school full time, but it’s not safe for 6th graders?”