Public school buildings to stay closed
Governor Roy Cooper announced last Friday that North Carolina K-12 public schools will continue remote learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Gaston County had originally planned to reopen schools for classes on May 15.
Cooper was joined by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson and the Chair of the State Board of Education Eric Davis for the announcement.
“School buildings will stay closed to students for this school year, but school isn’t over,” said Governor Cooper. “The decision to finish the year by remote learning was not made lightly, but it is the right thing to do to protect our students, teachers and communities. This is a difficult time for many children and parents, and I am grateful for all the educators, administrators, support staff and parents who have gone the extra mile to keep children learning.”
Cooper underscored the needs for schools to continue to provide school nutrition programs now and into the summer, and to be looking ahead and planning for when it is safe to re-convene schools in person. This includes how to get students back on track, especially those who have not been able to access remote learning or were already behind when schools closed to in-person instruction.
To help students without home internet access online learning opportunities, Cooper also announced a partnership to equip more school buses with Wi-Fi. School buses with Wi-Fi will travel to areas that lack internet 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.
State public health officials are developing safety guidelines for schools to follow when classes are able to convene in person, as well as guidance for summer camps and other groups that use school facilities.