Asheville Daily Planet
RSS Facebook
Governor urges all schools to offer in-person lessons
Monday, 15 February 2021 11:23

From Staff Reports


RALEIGH — Top state education leaders joined Gov. Roy Cooper on Feb. 2 to call on K-12 school districts across the state to allow in-person instruction for all students.

The governor joined Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services; Catherine Truitt, state superintendent of Public Instruction; and Eric Davis, chair of the State Board of Education; “to thank educators for their extraordinary work during an unprecedented time, to highlight ongoing research that shows that with proper mitigation measures, in-person learning is safe, and to emphasize the critical importance of ensuring all students have an opportunity to learn in a classroom,” a press release from the governor’s office stated.

Cooper asserted, “Protecting the health and safety of the people of this state, especially our children and our teachers, has been our goal.

“We know school is important for reasons beyond academic instruction. School is where students learn social skills, get reliable meals, and find their voices. Research done right here in North Carolina tells us that in-person learning is working and that students can be in classrooms safely with the right safety protocols in place.”

The release added, “Since the beginning of the pandemic, state leaders have emphasized the importance of returning students to in-person learning as quickly and safely as possible. 

“Children who rely solely on remote instruction are feeling the negative effects of isolation, including learning loss, mental  challenges and food insecurity. The state’s public health toolkit details specific health and safety protocols K-12 schools must implement to keep students and teachers safe during in-person instruction” the release noted.

Cohen said, “Even with the thousands of students and teachers attending school in-person across the state, we have seen few COVID-19 clusters in our public schools. Our department will continue to serve our school communities, offering resources and support so we can keep our school doors open.” 

To that end, the release stated, “Increasing evidence suggests that, with prevention measures in place, there are low rates of COVID-19 transmission in primary and secondary school settings even with high rates of community transmission. In addition, ongoing medical studies and peer-reviewed data affirm that children infected with COVID-19 generally have mild or no symptoms, and are less likely to spread the disease.”

Truitt said, “Learning loss resulting from COVID has the potential to be a generational hurdle, but the data we have seen shows us that schools can reopen safely if they adhere to COVID prevention policies. For many schools, the logistics of returning to in-person instruction five days per week will be a challenge, but this is absolutely a challenge we must face head on so that all students have a chance to fulfill their potential. With strong prevention measures in place, and the scientific research to back them, now is the time to act. North Carolina’s students cannot lose any more time.”

Davis said, “We know that to equitably and fully address the needs of the whole child in every student, it is imperative that schools reopen for in-person instruction. Since August, public school leaders have proven the merits of the safety protocols that have kept our schools safe for students and staff.”

Further, the release stated, “The governor and state health and education officials have made protecting the health and safety of students and educators the top priority since the beginning of the pandemic, moving to fully remote learning last Spring and giving local school districts the flexibility to gradually return to the classroom in September.

“Today (Feb. 2) , Governor Cooper, Superintendent Truitt, Chair Davis and Secretary Cohen sent a letter to local school board members and superintendents encouraging in-person instruction across the state.”

The release added, “North Carolina has now administered more than 1 million COVID-19 doses across the state. Today, two new resources that will help provide North Carolinians with more information on vaccines were announced. First, the state’s call center has now expanded its operations and will be open seven days a week to help answer questions about vaccine eligibility, how the vaccines work and more.

“The number for the call center is: (888) 675-4567. Additionally, NCDHHS launched an online search tool where users can enter their ZIP code or current location to find nearby vaccine providers.”

Following the governor’s announcement, North Carolina Association of Educators President Tamika Walker Kelly released a statement cautioning against mandating in-person lessons until more educators can be vaccinated.

“If Governor Cooper feels so strongly about resuming in-person instruction quickly, then he should support educators and immediately bring the full weight of his office to bear to get all educators vaccinated by the end of the month, just as 25 other states have been able to do,” she noted in the statement

“Particularly in light of the emerging and  increasingly virulent strains of COVID, it is more critical than ever to have a flexible approach that can be adapted to whatever situation next emerges,” Walker Kelly stated.



contact | home

Copyright ©2005-2015 Star Fleet Communications

224 Broadway St., Asheville, NC 28801 | P.O. Box 8490, Asheville, NC 28814
phone (828) 252-6565 | fax (828) 252-6567

a Cube Creative Design site