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Governor, Superintendent, State Board Chair urge return to in-person learning

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper urged schools to bring students back for in-person learning during a press conference today, Feb. 2.

Cooper’s announcement came on the same day that a Senate education committee gave a favorable vote to legislation that would require schools around the state to open for in-person learning. The bill would make schools open for exceptional needs students under plan A (full-time in-person with minimal social distancing), and under either plan A or B (hybrid in-person and remote learning) for all other students. No school would be able to offer plan C (all remote). Families who want their students to remain fully virtual would still have that option.

In effect, Cooper is asking for the same thing as lawmakers, he just doesn’t want a mandate.

“I don’t think that’s the way to go,” said Cooper in reference to the legislation. “I think the way to go is to get our local school boards to take this action, and I believe that many of them — most of them — will do so, and hopefully all of them will do so, because it is the right thing to do.”

However, Cooper did not say if he would veto the legislation if it passed the General Assembly. Cooper also said that students who want to remain in remote learning should be given that option.

It was Cooper who closed schools last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic and allowed them to reopen this fall under either plan B or plan C. Later in the fall, he allowed elementary schools to open under plan A.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis also made comments at the press conference urging schools to bring students back for in-person learning. You can hear what they had to say below.

Alex Granados

Alex Granados was the senior reporter for EducationNC from December 2014-March 2023.