A bill that would mandate a return to in-person education in North Carolina schools has passed the state House.

All Republican House members along with five Democrats voted to approve the measure.

It would compel K-12 school districts to offer at least partial in-person instruction. The Senate has not agreed to send the bill to Gov. Roy Cooper yet, because some changes to the measure were recently made.

Earlier this month, Cooper also encouraged getting kids back to school, but stopped short of requiring it. He said that he preferred to leave the decision to local districts.

Teacher advocates are concerned that a hasty return to in-person classes may be dangerous if precautions are not in place.

About 240,000 educators are expected to be part of a new round of vaccinations, beginning Feb. 24. Currently, only people 65 and older and frontline healthcare workers are eligible to vaccinated in the state. 

In a community conversation hosted by WFDD earlier this week, State Health Secretary Mandy Cohen said demand for the vaccine has outstripped supply in North Carolina, making it hard to move onto the next priority group, which includes teachers.

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you're experiencing.

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