RALEIGH, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – After working with health experts, school superintendents, teachers, and more, NC plans to put protections in place and open schools in a careful way.
On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina schools will open for both in-person and remote learning with key safety precautions to protect the health of students, teachers, staff and families. This is the Plan B that the state asked schools to prepare.
“It’s a measured approach that will allow children to attend but provide important safety protocols like fewer children in the classroom, social distancing, face coverings, cleaning, and more,” Gov. Cooper said on Tuesday.
As a part of this plan, North Carolina wants local school districts to provide a remote learning option for any child who chooses it. In addition, school districts will have the option of Plan C – all remote learning – if that’s best for them.
“I know parents, students and teachers have questions about what school might look like if they attend in person. I want to share more information about some of the requirements for schools under this plan,” Gov. Cooper said.
Face coverings will be required for every teacher, staff and student from kindergarten through high school. The studies have shown overwhelmingly that face coverings reduce disease transmission.
To help, the state will be providing at least 5 reusable face coverings for every student, teacher and staff member. And NC has already delivered a two-month supply of thermometers and medical-grade equipment for school nurses.
“Districts and schools can use a plan that works for them – whether it’s alternating days or weeks or some other strategy. Symptom screenings, including temperature checks, will take place daily before children enter the school buildings,” Gov. Cooper said. “Schools must create a way to isolate students who have symptoms and ensure they can get home safely. Schedules must allow time for frequent hand washing and schools will regularly clean classrooms, bathrooms, buses and equipment.”
Teachers will work to limit sharing of personal items and classroom materials. Nonessential visitors and activities involving outside organizations will be limited.
Schools are also recommended to implement other safety precautions such as: one-way hallways & entrances; keeping students in small groups; eating lunch in the classroom if the cafeteria won’t allow for social distancing; and suspending large group activities like assemblies.
“Schools will look a lot different this year in order to be safe and effective. Public health experts and school leaders developed these rules to protect students, teachers and families. They also have detailed procedures for what’ll happen if a student or teacher tests positive,” Cooper said.
Plan B is a baseline for the state.
“However, as I said earlier, districts can choose plan C – which requires all remote learning – if they determine that is best for those children, parents, and teachers in that area,” Cooper said.
Check back for further information on this breaking news story throughout the day.