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'This is not the new normal' | North Carolina State Superintendent addresses next school year

State Superintendent Mark Johnson said a new 'reopening schools' task force will make crucial decisions for 2020-2021. Will remote learning continue?

NORTH CAROLINA, USA — There are a lot of unknowns for the next school year.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson said until we have a coronavirus vaccine, social distancing will have to be maintained somehow, which could mean some continued remote schooling.

"We don’t have a vaccine for this virus and, as a parent, I don’t want my 7-year-old daughter to get COVID-19, and I don’t want teachers who are in the high risk category to get COVID-19 so that’s something we have to take into account," he stated.

RELATED: Will the next school year be extended to play catch-up?

There’s now a ‘reopening’ task force making those crucial decisions. The force launched Thursday.

"The good news is we are launching a task force that will look at how we get back into school buildings, as many students and as many teachers as possible in the fall," State Superintendent Johnson said. 

The task force is discussing the real possibility of some virtual schooling for the 2020-2021 school year. Not every day, but enough to give students space.

RELATED: What will next school year look like? Guilford County Schools talks possibility of more remote learning

"What that might mean is some students work on a project at home one day, and then go into the school building the next day for a small group with their teacher, those are just suggestions on the table right now."

Johnson said social distancing will be tough to tackle, especially for Guilford County Schools where most are at full capacity.

"Guilford County you have some very large high schools, that’s going to be a little more challenging in order to do social distancing in a large high school setting."

Johnson acknowledges other challenges, like lost learning. 

How will some students catch-up?

"The task force is strongly considering, to make sure we can safely reenter school buildings, that students who had the most learning loss, getting them into schools maybe a week before the school year starts and doing intensive focus on helping them catch up."

Johnson said the 'reopening' task force needs for your help. He explained the agency will be emailing parents and teachers at some point this summer, looking for feedback.

"What we’re living in right now, this is not the new normal," he adamantly stated. "Parents have been resilient, teachers have been resilient, thanks to everyone, so much, for your strength and stepping up to these challenges but we do not need to expect this to be what we go back to in the fall."

Johnson added the task force is bipartisan, and diverse. 

"It's around 10 people, we have representation from the Governor's Office, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services," he continued. "We have representation from the North Carolina Senate, the North Carolina House and superintendents from across the state."


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