North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is praising school districts who have opted to return to in-person learning, but he says he won't sign a bill forcing classrooms to reopen.

Cooper says the school reopening bill recently passed by the General Assembly fails on two fronts.

He says it does not follow North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services guidelines such as social distancing for middle and high school classrooms. And he adds it handcuffs authorities from making decisions without additional legislation. 

"Suppose this variant causes significant problems and you have in the legislation that students still have to be in person in the classroom," says Cooper. "And you take away the authority of state and local officials to be able to respond to those emergencies. That's not a good thing."  

Cooper vowed to continue discussions with General Assembly leaders to craft new legislation. The governor has 10 days to sign or veto the bill. If he does neither, it becomes law without his signature.

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