Gov. Roy Cooper to announce public school opening plans Tuesday

Gov. Roy Cooper listens to a question during a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh. Thursday, July 9, 2020. Photo via NC Dept of Public Safety

RALEIGH – Gov. Roy Cooper will make the long-awaited announcement on North Carolina’s 2020-21 school year tomorrow at 3 PM. Tomorrow’s update is billed an as update on COVID-19 and K-12 public schools.

Rumors have swirled regarding specific plans. The State Board of Education has three options, billed as plan A, plan B, and plan C. The North Carolina Association of Educators, who represent teachers in the state, has insisted than plan A is a non-starter for the group.

Of the three plans, plan B has multiple sub-options for school operations. These options include alternating days or weeks for students to be on campus, half the days split between school and remote learning, or full school days where teachers live stream their classes, which enables the school to decide which students come in and which ones learn from home. A final option, is a “hybrid” model, allowing for a combination of options to fit local needs. Which plan is enacted will depend on the status of the state’s COVID-19 metrics.

The American Academy of Pediatrics guidance for COVID-19 planning considerations srongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.

“The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation,” the guidance document says.

This is a developing story and will be updated.