Gov. Roy Cooper will share plans to reopen state’s K-12 schools today

Gov. Roy Cooper

In a highly anticipated 3 p.m. news conference today, Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to announce plans to reopen the state’s K-12 schools.

The press conference will be live streamed at ncdps.gov/storm-update.

Cooper postponed making a decision last week about when and how to  reopen schools, saying the state “must get it right” before giving such a directive.

“My No. 1 opening priority is classroom doors,” Cooper said during an afternoon press conference. “We encourage our public schools to continue that planning with a special focus on how teachers, staff and students can best be protected, especially those who are high risk.”

With cases of the coronavirus continuing to spike in North Carolina, educators and parents have voiced concern about returning to classrooms in the fall. Schools can reopen as early as Aug. 17.

Social media has been abuzz with teachers, particularly educators with underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to contracting the virus, who are worried about what happens to them and their students if there is outbreak of the contagious and deadly virus in a school.

Teachers also worry about whether the state will provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep staff and students safe.

Cooper is expected to choose between one of three plans to reopen schools.

Plan A calls for schools to fully reopen with daily temperature and screen checks before students and staff members can enter buildings. Under Plan B, students would receive both in-person and remote instruction. All students would receive remote instruction under Plan C.

The Wake County Public School System (WCPPS), the state’s largest, announced earlier this month that students will attend in-person school part time and learn from home part-time.

The Raleigh News & Observer has reported that WCPPS received 18,000 applications for its new Wake Virtual Academy created for families afraid to return to in-person instruction before a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed.

Cooper’s school reopening decision will come a day after the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest, announced that it will not reopen campuses and continue with online instruction for the foresseable future because of a spike in coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile New York City, the nation’s largest school system, will reopen with students returning to campus fewer than five days per week.

Other large school districts will give parents a choice betweem online instruction and online and in-person instruction.

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