On July 14, 2020 North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that North Carolina K-12 public schools will be open for the new school year.
Schools will open for in-person instruction under an updated Plan B that requires face coverings for all K-12 students, fewer children in the classroom, measures to ensure social distancing for everyone in the building, and other safety protocols. The state will provide at least 5 reusable face coverings for every student, teacher, and school staff member in public schools.
However, school districts may choose to operate remote learning only. Health leaders actually recommend schools allow families to opt in to all-remote learning.
Governor Cooper says:
“The most important opening is that of our classroom doors. Our schools provide more than academics; they are vital to our children’s’ health, safety and emotional development. This is a difficult time for families with hard choices on every side. I am committed to working together to ensure our students and educators are as safe as possible and that children have opportunities to learn in the way that is best for them and their families.”
Under Plan B, schools are required to follow key safety measures that include:
- Require face coverings for all teachers and students K-12
- Limit the total number of students, staff and visitors within a school building to the extent necessary to ensure 6 feet distance can be maintained when students/staff will be stationary
- Conduct symptom screening, including temperature checks
- Establish a process and dedicated space for people who are ill to isolate and have transportation plans for ill students
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in the school and transportation vehicles regularly
- Require frequent hand washing throughout the school day and provide hand sanitizer at entrances and in every classroom
- Discontinue activities that bring together large groups
- Limit nonessential visitors and activities involving external groups
- Discontinue use of self-service food or beverage distribution