As cases climb, Cooper warns reopening of public schools in August could be in jeopardy

North Carolina

Governor Roy Cooper holds a press briefing at the Emergency Operations Center on Monday, June 8, 2020 in Raleigh, N.C. Cooper updated the public on the COVID-19 virus and response to protests for racial justice. (Robert Willett/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is warning the public about the consequences of the spread of COVID-19  as the state’s case and hospitalization numbers reach new highs.

North Carolina recorded the highest one-day increase in cases over the weekend, and the number of virus-related deaths now exceed 1,000.

Cooper said Monday that the reopening of the public schools in August could be in jeopardy if health precautions aren’t taken seriously.

Cooper and state health Secretary Mandy Cohen said people who have been in crowds should get tested. That includes thousands that have been demonstrating since the death of George Floyd.

Cooper, Cohen and state education leaders unveiled interim guidance on Monday to the state’s public schools about safety provisions for teaching children when classes are slated to resume in August. Cooper shut down school buildings in March and they never reopened this school year.

The guidance requires schools to create three plans for instruction based on data trends in the coming weeks and months. Two of the plans require levels of social distancing at schools. The other would revert to remote learning again should trends continue to worsen. Cooper and DHHS will announce by July 1 how schools can safely reopen for the new year

“Opening schools will depend on our health metrics,′ Cooper said. “We very much want to open the school buildings, but we won’t open them and make a reckless decision when it’s so important.”

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