North Carolina schools closed for remainder of year

Published 5:46 pm Friday, April 24, 2020

Gov. Roy Cooper, in a press conference Friday afternoon, announced that North Carolina public schools would not reopen for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school term due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public schools in all 115 districts were initially closed for two weeks in mid-March. That closure was extended through May 15.

The decision was largely expected, reports Gary D. Robertson with Associated Press.

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“I believe this is a wise decision for several reasons but primarily to protect the health and safety of our students, staff, and parents,” wrote John Farrelly, superintendent of Dare County Schools.

He continued, “Our senior leadership is working with our school principals on addressing details related to the closing of school. I will send out an email next week that will provide details including timelines related to remote learning, a review of grading procedures given the new State Board of Education policies, technology devices, picking up personal belongings etc.

“For our graduating seniors and their parents, we have been working for several weeks on possible graduation scenarios and will be receiving teacher input next week. Following that we intend to provide graduating seniors and their parents with a survey on Monday, May 4 where you will have a chance to provide input,” wrote Farrelly.

“On behalf of the nearly 100,000 public school educators in North Carolina, we strongly support the decision Governor Cooper made today in closing school buildings for the remainder of the school year,” said North Carolina Association of Educators President Mark Jewell.

“While the school buildings remain closed, the education and learning will continue,” said Jewell in a prepared statement.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson said that while there was hope schools could eventually reopen this school year, the current COVID-19 situation in North Carolina does not make that possible.

Johnson praised the work that educators and parents across North Carolina have done to help students continue their studies while schools have been closed.

“We all had to switch to remote learning overnight,” said Johnson.

In a prepared statement, Eric Davis, chairman of the State Board of Education, focused forward.

“The next few months will require us to pivot from our initial response to recovery. Recovery will require state and local leaders to identify and allocate critical resources. Resources will be necessary to support the availability of nutritious meals and provide opportunities to reconnect students who, in some cases, have experienced a significant pause in their instructional journeys. Resources will also be necessary to provide training and support for educators who have been challenged to rethink instructional design and delivery, said Davis.

He concluded his statement, saying “In light of today’s announcement, we remain forward focused. State and district leaders are already discussing options and planning for what reentry in the 2020-21 school year can look like and what resources will be necessary to support our students’ academic and social, emotional, and health needs.

“North Carolina is home to seven majestic lighthouses, symbols of strength, hope for the weary, beacons of safety in rough waters. Like a mighty lighthouse, we will continue to stand our ground with an unwavering commitment to endure the challenges thrust upon us by COVID-19. We will rely on our resilience to maintain excellence in education while we continue to provide hope and needed support to the children, families, and North Carolina’s public schools.”

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