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Senate Bill 113 gives district flexibility for virtual learning

Representative Kevin Corbin’s last day in the General Assembly ended just before 3 a.m. last week. The marathon session finalized several bills, many of which fell along party lines. Governor Roy Cooper began signing those bills this week, which range from addressing the Murphy Railroad Project to flexibility in remote learning this fall.

Senate Bill 113 was introduced by Senator Jim Davis at the end of February and as the COVID19 situation developed, the bill was adapted to address the changing needs. The final draft passed the Senate by a unanimous vote before heading to the House of Representatives. Rep. Corbin supported the bill and helped to make changes needed while COVID19 continued to change daily. The bill was eventually passed unanimously in the House and then signed by the Governor on Monday.

The bill allows individual school districts and charter schools to schedule additional days of remote instruction when it considers them to be necessary for the health and safety of students above the five days required by the state.

“We appreciate the General Assembly’s actions to ensure that our state’s educators and students have support to meet our schools’ critical needs during this pandemic,” NC Superintendent Mark Johnson said in a news release. “This is a challenging time for our students, educators and parents, and these funds will help us focus our efforts to meet their needs.”

In addition to leaving it up to local district’s to decide how to move forward with virtual learning days, the bill also includes language to:

▪ Streamlines school psychologist licensure requirements to expand student access to school psychologists.

▪ Provides private schools with immunity from lawsuits for COVID-19 related tuition refunds. A similar provision was passed to protect colleges and universities.

▪ Permits the state superintendent to approve the issuance of private activity bonds to finance or refinance a charter school facility.

 

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