Ask & Answer | Curious what relief school districts need from lawmakers in response to coronavirus?

Readers are asking EdNC what relief districts need from lawmakers.

This article was updated on March 23, 2020, at 3:36 p.m.

The North Carolina School Superintendents Association and the North Carolina Association of School Administrators released a memo on Friday, March 20, 2020, on school district recommendations for continuing the 2019-20 school year. The recommendations reflect “the most-immediate needs for assistance as of March 19, 2020,” according to the memo.

Since the memo was issued, the governor has closed schools through May 15, 2020.

The memo’s recommendations include these six steps:

  • “If additional closure is required, provide LEAs ample time for planning and communication with parents, students and staff.
  • Issue uniform guidance on staff work days, leave time, and other personnel items.
  • Suspend testing requirements and ease related accountability measures.
  • Provide flexible relief funding for LEA mitigation and response costs.
  • Provide greater policy flexibility and ease regulations on LEAs.
  • If the Governor determines cancellation of school is needed for the remainder of the school year, we recommend the following:
    • Implement all previous steps as outlined but provide any needed clarifications or changes on previous implementation guidance.
    • Issue guidance from the UNC System on the impact of school cancellation on currently enrolled students and 11th grade students.”

You can read the memo, which reflects feedback from superintendents statewide, here:

On Friday, March 20, 2020 at 2:08 p.m., Charles Jeter, executive director of Government Affairs, Policy, and Board Services for Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools, sent a request for relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic to President Pro Tem Sen. Phil Berger, Speaker of the House Tim Moore, Chair of the State Board Eric Davis, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson.

The request includes four items:

  • A waiver of the minimum number of days/hours of instruction for the 2019-2020 school year as required by the state school calendar laws;
  • A waiver of End-of-Course and End-of-Grade state tests for the 2019-2020 school year;
  • The authority to award emergency leave pay to all public school employees who are unable to work because their job duties cannot be performed remotely and reasonable alternate work is not feasible or productive; and
  • The authority to award emergency leave pay to all public school employees who are sick due to COVID-19 or who are caring for a dependent with COVID-19.

You can read the request for relief here:

What does your district need moving forward from lawmakers? Let me know at mrash@ednc.org.

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

Ask & Answer Coronavirus