Gov. Cooper: NC schools will be open for in-person and virtual learning amid pandemic

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that schools will open for both in-person and remote learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cooper says the announcement is “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.”

All remote learning will be an option for some school districts, Cooper said.

“After working with health experts, school superintendents, teachers and more, we plan to put those protections in place and open our schools in a careful way,” Cooper said.

Face masks 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,” he said.

Symptom screenings, including temperature checks, will take place daily before children enter the school buildings.

“We know there will always be some risk with in-person learning and we are doing a lot to reduce that risk. But, as pediatricians and other health experts tell us, there is much risk in not going back to in-person school,” Cooper said.

Cooper said schools will reopen under the “Plan B” option, which features both remote and face-to-face learning. “Plan A” was entirely face-to-face with minimal social distancing. “Plan C” would have been entirely remote learning.

North Carolina’s Phase Two of reopening will continue beyond its original expiration date of Friday.

Phase Two will continue for another three weeks.

“Our virus trends are not spiking like some other states. We have hospital capacity and our percent positive is still high but it’s steady. However, our numbers are still troubling and they could jump higher in the blink of an eye,” Cooper said.

The governor’s announcement comes as the state reported a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday.

The state’s COVID-19 case trends have been going in unfavorable directions in recent weeks. The state health department reported 87,500 positive cases and more than 1,000 people in the hospital.

This is breaking news and will be updated.

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