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Schools will open next month

NC Gov. Cooper announces opening of Plan B

POLK COUNTY—North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday afternoon that schools will reopen in August.

Cooper said the choice of how to reopen is Plan B, which includes all staff and students K-12 wearing masks, social distancing and increased cleaning.

Cooper also said individual school districts can choose a more restrictive opening plan for remote learning only if that option fits their district.

Cooper began his press conference with the numbers in the state, including that 1,562 North Carolinians have died.

He said the state made the difficult decision in March to go to remote learning for the rest of the year and he thinks that decision prevented the state’s hospitals from being overwhelmed.

“Some states are seeing their hospitals fill up,” Cooper said. “The good news is we know how to control the spread and protect ourselves.”

In re-opening the schools, the state will provide 5 face coverings for every staff member and student. The state is also providing equipment to perform temperature screenings every day.

Other restrictions for Plan B will be limiting outsiders from coming onto campus, limiting how many people are in a building, one-way hallways and having students eat in classrooms when cafeterias do not allow for social distancing. Assemblies will also be restricted.

School districts can allow any student to do strictly remote learning if they choose that option.

“We know schools will look a lot different this year,” Cooper said. “They have to, to keep safe and effective. Plan B is the baseline for our state. Districts can choose Plan C, which requires all remote learning.”

No district can choose any reopening less restrictive than Plan B.

Cooper also said the start of school is a month away and a lot can happen in that time. He said if things change, the state could choose to go strictly to all remote learning.

Cooper also extended the Safer at Home order for another 3 weeks at least. The order was set to end this Friday.

“Our numbers are still troubling and they could jump higher in the blink of an eye,” Cooper said.

Cooper said if those numbers jump, it could threaten the state’s ability to open the schools.

“We want to be done with this pandemic, but it’s not done with us,” he said. “The easiest and most effective way to ensure our children go to school in August, is to wear a mask.”