Monday, 23 March 2020 14:06

Cooper keeps schools closed till mid-May, orders more businesses to close

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RALEIGH — North Carolina schools will be closed until at least May 15 and the mass gathering limit has been lowered to 50.

Gov. Roy Cooper made the announcement of his latest Executive Order during a press conference on Monday.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson said it became clear last week that this would be a multi-month event.

“We arrived at May 15 by looking at the CDC and public health guidance, but as you know this is a rapidly evolving health crisis and if the guidance changes, we will adjust the order,” Cooper said. “I have asked that the plan lay out how we are going to make sure that all school employees are able to continue to safely work and to get paid during this time.”

The governor said he would like for all school employees, not just teachers, to continue to be paid.

State leaders hope to keep seniors on track to graduate this year.

“Our schools are getting creative about how to best do remote learning,” Cooper said. “To that end, I convened a conference call of internet service providers urging more help to get internet access to students who need it as quickly as possible.”

With the schools not planning to open back until May 18, Johnson encouraged parents to start a routine and not treat it as a long break.

Richmond County Schools will continue to provide breakfasts and lunches to students via bus route and at the meal sites located at Monroe Avenue Elementary, Ninth Grade Academy, West Rockingham Elementary, L.J. Bell Elementary, Cordova Middle School, Ellerbe Middle School and Hamlet Middle School, according to a press release issued after the press conference.

“While our school buildings will remain closed, we will continue to have school remotely and provide learning opportunities for our students,” the release concludes. “If you have any questions in regards to remote learning or instructional packets, please contact your child’s school between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday - Friday.”

Cooper’s order, which is not yet available online, drops the mass-gathering limit from 100 to 50 and mandates the closing of several more types of businesses because of the “inability to control social distancing.”

Businesses ordered to close by Wednesday are:

  • Bingo Parlors
  • Bowling Alleys
  • Gyms, Yoga Studios, Martial Art Facilities
  • Health Clubs
  • Indoor Pools
  • Live Performance Venues
  • Skating Rinks
  • Spas
  • Sweepstakes Parlors
  • Video Game Arcades
  • Barber Shops
  • Beauty Salons
  • Hair Salons
  • Manicure/Pedicure Providers
  • Massage Parlors
  • Nail Salons
  • Tattoo Parlors

“We want you to close as soon as possible,” Cooper said., 

They must be closed by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The press conference can be viewed on the governor’s Facebook page.

The Richmond Observer will continue to provide updates.