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Lincoln Herald | Lincolnton, NC

home : news : education August 7, 2020

4/24/2020 2:55:00 PM
Schools Won't Reopen This School Year
Governor Cooper's three-phase plan for 'reopening' North Carolina (reducing or ending restrictions) was outlined in a photo gallery attached to our earlier article "Two More Weeks."  CLICK HERE to see the photo gallery and photos of Cooper with the plan.

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

North Carolina’s public schools will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year as part of an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper extended his order Friday (April 25th) that had previously closed schools through May 15th. Cooper was joined by NC Supt. of Public Instruction Mark Johnson and chairman of the NC Board of Education Eric Davis. Johnson said the state had no choice this year but to be proactive, but "we will open school this Fall addressing the situation proactively." All three agreed that the coming school year will be quite different from the past.

Schools have been utilizing the internet for remote learning where possible, and Cooper spoke about agreements with AT&T and Duke Energy that will provide so-called 'hot spots' on buses as a part of a plan to increase access to the web in areas not currently served.

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North Carolina joins 41 other states, three U.S. territories and the District of Columbia in closing schools to in-person classes for the rest of this school year.

“Classrooms may be closed, but the learning is not over,” Cooper said.

Johnson noted that Teacher Appreciation Day will be celebrated on May 5th. "That's easy to remember," he said, "Cinco de Mayo--but this year with another meaning. I hope people will get creative in the way they express their appreciation to these teachers who have dealt so well with a nearly impossible situation."

Johnson & Davis promised that guidelines will be coming soon on grading for students. Both praised school personnel including administrators, classified workers and teachers for their efforts to provide education for students beyond the classroom setting. Davis urged school districts to continue to find ways to pay hourly employees, many of whom are involved in the schools' efforts to feed students while the schools are closed.

The State Board of Education adopted a statewide grading policy Thursday in which only high school students will have the option of getting traditional grades for this semester. Elementary students won’t get grades and middle school students will only be told that they passed or withdrew from a class.

Cooper expressed what many have feared: that the pandemic many not have fully subsided when it's time to open the 2020-2021 school year. "One thing we know for sure," he said, "it's going to be different."

Cooper also spoke about how he wants to spend the $1.4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief the state will get as a part of the two trillion dollars CARES Act.  Cooper said he want to use $740 million for education and state government operations and $375 million for small business and local government assistance.  Cooper said the remainder could be used to support the added expenses to the state's Medicaid program.  

On Thursday, Cooper announced his latest executive order, extending the stay at home order and other existing restrictions through May 8th.  

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