Governor: N.C. schools will reopen this August; face coverings required K-12

[Photo courtesy North Carolina Department of Education]

Gov. Roy Cooper announced this afternoon that public schools will reopen in August under “Plan B,” with classrooms at lower capacity and social distancing.

Face coverings will be required for every teacher, staff member and student from kindergarten through high school.

“The studies have shown overwhelmingly that face coverings reduce disease transmission,” Cooper said during his 3 p.m. news conference.

To help, the state will be providing at least five reusable face coverings for every student, teacher and staff member. Two-month supplies of thermometers and medical-grade equipment for school nurses have already been provided.

Symptom screenings, including temperature checks, will take place daily before children enter the school buildings.

Districts and schools can use a plan that works for them – whether it’s alternating days or weeks or some other strategy, Cooper said. School districts have the option to begin school under Plan C, which is full-time remote learning.

“Schools must create a way to isolate students who have symptoms and ensure they can get home safely. Schedules must allow time for frequent hand washing and schools will regularly clean classrooms, bathrooms, buses and equipment,” Cooper said.

For Dare County Schools, the district leadership team and school principals “have been meeting for the past month to prepare our plan to implement Governor Cooper’s decision,” schools spokesman Keith Parker said. “We will be releasing information to parents and the public in the next few days.”

In Currituck County, school district leaders are prepared to implement “Plan B,” a hybrid model involving some face-to-face instruction with virtual learning. There will also be an option for 100 percent online learning. The school district said details will be released soon.

The governor also announced that North Carolina will continue under Phase 2 coronavirus restrictions for three more weeks when his executive order ends Friday.

Under Phase 2, public playgrounds, bars and nightclubs, movie theaters, museums, bowling alleys, amusement parks, arcades and skating rinks remain closed.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at [email protected]