A vast majority of K-12 public school students in North Carolina will learn remotely when school begins on August 17. Districts are looking to state and federal officials for more guidance on when it will be safe to reopen buildings.
New state data show at least 65% of public school students will start the year fully remote because their districts went with Plan C. Beyond that, an unknown number of parents have opted for remote instruction in districts that allowed for a mix of in-person and online learning.
Gov. Roy Cooper says many districts that have taken the remote option are doing so temporarily and will reevaluate in-person learning if coronavirus spread decreases.
But districts say they don't know when they will be able to tell parents and staff when it's safe to fully reopen.
Guilford County Schools will begin the first nine weeks remotely.
Superintendent Sharon Contreras says there's a lot of pressure to figure all of this out and it's unfair to put the burden on local superintendents and school boards to determine what is an acceptable number of COVID-19 cases to reopen buildings.
“We have full departments at the state and federal level who do this for a living, who train for this, who can tell us either keep students home, keep staff home, or return to school," she says. "Instead, you have every school district in the country trying to make this determination on their own. It's not right.”
The Guilford County Board of Education will revisit reopening scenarios in the coming weeks. The state's third-largest school system serves more than 73,000 students.
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