RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina schools will close for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, Governor Roy Cooper announced Friday during a news conference alongside educational leaders.
Gov. Cooper announced remote learning will continue instead of in-person at schools.
"We don't make this decision lightly, but it's important to protect the health and safety of our students and our school staff," said Gov. Cooper.
Gov. Cooper said North Carolina understands the importance of providing meals through school nutrition programs and wants to continue those programs into the summer.
Additionally, state officials announced plans to provide a program for students who would benefit from going back to school early, mainly younger students or students struggling with reading and writing.
To help students without home internet access online learning opportunities, Gov. Cooper today announced a partnership to equip more school buses with Wi-Fi. School buses with Wi-Fi will travel to areas without internet connections so students can turn in assignments, download materials, and connect with teachers. AT&T is providing 100 hot spots, Duke Energy Foundation is providing 80, and additional partners are expected to join the effort, officials said.
As for safety, guidelines are being developed for schools to follow once schools resume, state officials said.
Students started remote learning on March 23, after Gov. Cooper made the executive decision to close schools through an original date of May 15.
The State Board of Education adopted a statewide policy on Thursday that would mostly eliminate student letter grades for the semester. High school students will still have the option of getting traditional grades for the semester. Middle school students will be on a pass/fail system, and elementary students will not get grades.
Yesterday, Gov. Cooper extended the statewide stay home order through May 8. He also unveiled a three-phase plan for reopening North Carolina based on downward trends for coronavirus in the state.
NC coronavirus relief package:
Gov. Roy Cooper also announced a budget proposal that would bring $1.4 billion of coronavirus aid to North Carolina if passed. The funding would come predominately from the state's CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). The North Carolina General Assembly would be responsible for distributing it during its upcoming session.
The budget package is intended to fund immediate needs in three main areas:
- Public health and safety
- Continuity of operations for education and other state government services
- Assistance to small businesses and local governments.
"We know that people are hurting, businesses are struggling, and local governments are facing severe shortages. That’s why we have to act now to get resources in the hands of people and organizations that provide vital support,” said Gov. Cooper.
You can watch Gov. Roy Cooper's full press conference HERE
FACTS NOT FEAR
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