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Cooper: North Carolina can elementary schools move to Plan A in October

Effective Oct. 5, public school districts and charter schools across the state can choose to implement Plan A for elementary K-5 schools. Plan A permits students in those grades to return to schools for in-person instruction.

Gov. Roy Cooper made the announcement at a press conference Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.

Operational health and safety requirements will be in place for all schools. Everyone in the school building will be required to wear a face covering, follow social distancing and engage in symptom screening. However, the requirements do not require schools to reduce the number of children in classrooms.

Density reduction on buses is recommended but not required, reports Mandy Cohen, secretary of North Carolina Health and Human Services. Facial coverings are required on buses.

School districts opting for Plan A must offer remote learning for those parents uncomfortable with students attending in-person.

Every school district has the choice of Plan A, B or C. Plan B is split time, some in school and some remote learning. Plan C is all remote learning.

Dare County Board of Education decided to open school with remote instruction for the first quarter which ends Oct. 23. The board is scheduled to discuss reopening schools Thursday, Oct. 1 at 5 p.m.

About the announcement, Dare Board of Education Chair Bea Basnight said, “it’s going to be really good to have that option to consider.” She said, “I think it’s good. Children learn better in person.”

The Tyrrell County Board of Education has announced that it will meet September 28 to discuss state recommendations.

“Parents and community members are asked to complete the survey on the Tyrrell County Schools webpage to share your input on the reopening of the schools,” stated the announcement from Tyrrell County Schools. “Once the decision has been made, the Superintendent and district leadership will communicate the plans for implementing instruction at each school level.”

Tyrrell has been operating under Plan C.

Said Cooper, “North Carolinians are doing the hard work to improve our numbers and trends. Many people are wearing masks, keeping social distance and being careful to protect others as well as themselves. We have shown that listening to the science works. And I’m proud of our resolve.”

Cohen also explained that as schools have opened, the current science shows that younger children are less likely to become infected, have symptoms, experience severe disease or spread the virus, states a media release.

In moving through phased reopenings, North Carolina has followed four metric measures, which are declining but still too high, said Cohen. For example, Cohen cited new case numbers which are trending down, but on Thursday the department reported 1,552 new cases, which is too high commented Cohen. Hospitalizations are at 894 people. Deaths across the state from COVID-19 number 3,180.

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