By JONAH LOSSIAH
ONE FEATHER STAFF
All public elementary schools in North Carolina are now allowed to return to school with no limitations to capacity.
In a press conference held on the afternoon of Thursday, Sep. 17, N.C. Governor Roy Cooper announced his decision to move forward with the reopening of schools. He stipulated that this permission would only be allowed for grades kindergarten through fifth grade.
“As we laid out this summer, option A continues to include important safety measures like required face coverings for all students, teachers and staff, social distancing and symptom screening,” said Gov. Cooper.
“But, plan A does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom. Students in grades 6-12 still must operate only under Option B, which is partially in person and partially remote or Option C, which is all remote.”
Gov. Cooper discussed the pattern that the spread of COVID-19 has been slowing over the last month. However, the state has had 189,576 cases as of Sept. 17. There have consistently been more than 1,000 new cases announced daily. This decision comes two weeks after Gov. Cooper announced that North Carolina would be shifting to ‘Phase 2.5’, which began to loosen some restrictions.
“I want to be clear, Plan A may not be right at this time for many school districts and for every family,” he said. “Opportunities for remote learning need to be available for families who choose it. And, districts will have the flexibility to select a plan based on their unique situation.”
Although Gov. Cooper announced that all schools could open with the hybrid model of ‘Plan B’ before the school year began, several schools across the state chose to start the semester in ‘Plan C’. One of these is Cherokee Central Schools (CCS).
“I’m proud of our work to get to this point, and know that a number of school districts are moving soon to in-person instruction under Plan B with strong safety measures. We anticipate more will join them,” said Gov. Cooper.
The CCS Board of Education is set to meet Monday, Sept. 21 to discuss this very topic. They have invited Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed and EBCI Public Health and Human Services Secretary Vickie Bradley to the meeting to receive their input on the topic.
The School Board said that the initial plan was to begin in ‘C’ with hopes of moving to ‘B’ by October. With the Governor’s announcement, there could be many schools across the state that will be making this exact move. The CCS School Board meets at 4:45 p.m. on Monday.
“The number one opening priority during this pandemic has been our schools, and our continuing progress in fighting the spread of this virus is allowing us to do a little more. The more people wear masks and act responsibly, the more children we can get safely in our schools,” said Governor Cooper.