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NC to announce school decision next week

President Donald Trump is calling for schools to reopen this Fall, a decision that is ultimately up to State Governor’s. Governor Roy Cooper was initially expected to make an announcement about school openings on July 1, but delayed the decision to allow more data to be gathered.

On Thursday, Governor Cooper said the state will be making a decision regarding students returning to the classroom next week. Cooper will also provide an update on the state’s Executive Order, which ends on Friday, July 17.

The decision will come as North Carolina sees record-high virus hospitalizations and an alarming spike in cases.

“We want our children back in school safety. And we’ll have an official announcement next week,” Cooper said Thursday. “Our trends are not where we want them to be right now.”

Some schools in North Carolina are scheduled to start in July, and officials are asking those schools to conduct remote learning until the decision is made for in-person learning.

Children are clearly at low risk of serious illness from covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Research suggests they’re also less likely to get infected to begin with. But it’s unclear to what extent they can still transmit it to each other and to vulnerable adults — such as their teachers or family members.

There is no formula for how to reopen schools safely, though school officials are developing strategies for keeping kids separated as much as possible. Many school districts are adopting “hybrid” plans with students alternating between in-school and at-home learning and attending class in shifts to allow more space between desks and fewer people in buildings.

School districts across the country are opening – without any uniformity. One of the first public school districts to reopen in the U.S. was Premont Independent School District in Premont, Texas, a rural town in the southern part of the state. The K-12 district, which enrolls just more than 600 students, reopened June 1 for a batch of about 100 students. Another group of students returned to in-person classes on June 15. The school will close June 30 for the summer and reopen the first week of August.

Both Idaho and Texas schools require temperature taken before getting on the bus to come to school. They sit one student to a seat on the bus, compared to three per seat in the past. Two adults also ride each bus to make sure students comply with those rules. Inside the schools, there are no more than 11 students per classroom, who sit at least six feet apart from one another. Masks are required for teachers at all times and for students whenever they are in the hallway. Students have the option of wearing masks in class. Lunch is also served in the classroom, and there is no gym class, recess or anything else that isn’t essential.

Other states like Arizona and California are monitoring case counts in their respective states, with Arizona already pushing back the state of school in hopes of seeing cases decline.

While many states are debating Fall school, Florida has remained adamant that schools should reopen on time and in person.

“We spent months saying that there were certain things that were essential that included fast-food restaurants. It included Walmart and Home Depot and Lowe’s,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a news conference in Jacksonville with U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “If all that is essential, then educating our kids is absolutely essential, and they have been put to the back of the line in some respects.”

However, in Florida, the Governor is leaving the decision to reopen up to specific districts, many of which are electing not to. Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has said schools would not reopen and would offer classes online only if the county does not experience a steady decline in new coronavirus cases to pull it out of Phase 1 reopening stage.

Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said the district does “not see a realistic path to opening all district schools with 100 percent full enrollment every day. And on Wednesday, Palm Beach County school officials said their students will likely be learning online instead of in the classroom when the school year begins next month.

North Carolina’s neighboring states of South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia have yet to make an announcement regarding the opening but have all remained hesitant to do so with the recent increase in cases.

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