Tuesday, 02 February 2021 17:21

Cooper calls for in-person instruction at N.C. schools

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Cooper calls for in-person instruction at N.C. schools Governor's office

RALEIGH — A week after the Richmond County Board of Education voted to let students return to school for in-person instruction, Gov. Roy Cooper and other state officials calling for the same.


According to Cooper’s office, ongoing research “shows that with proper mitigation measures, in-person learning is safe,” and it's important to ensure “all students have an opportunity to learn in a classroom.”

“Protecting the health and safety of the people of this state, especially our children and our teachers, has been our goal,” Cooper said in a statement. “We know school is important for reasons beyond academic instruction. School is where students learn social skills, get reliable meals, and find their voices. Research done right here in North Carolina tells us that in-person learning is working and that students can be in classrooms safely with the right safety protocols in place.”

State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said there have been few school-related COVID-19 clusters in the state.

Numbers from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services show a recent decline in both daily cases and hospitalizations.

Local statistics show that students learning from home appear more likely to contract the coronavirus.

Of the 265 students reported by Richmond County Schools to have tested positive since late August of 2020, 210 were virtual students as compared to 55 traditional students.

Last Tuesday, the school board voted 5-2 to send students back to the classroom starting Feb. 1.

In the past two days, RCS has reported six staff members testing positive, but no students.

“Learning loss resulting from COVID has the potential to be a generational hurdle, but the data we have seen shows us that schools can reopen safely if they adhere to COVID prevention policies,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt. “For many schools, the logistics of returning to in-person instruction five days per week will be a challenge, but this is absolutely a challenge we must face head on so that all students have a chance to fulfill their potential. With strong prevention measures in place, and the scientific research to back them, now is the time to act. North Carolina’s students cannot lose any more time.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the Carolina Journal reported that state legislators have introduced a bill to allocate $1.6 million to be used by school districts for sanitation and protective equipment, upgrades to school buildings for better ventilation, and programs for addressing learning loss.

Cooper and Truitt sent a letter to the state’s school districts encouraging in-person instruction.