Gov. Roy Cooper: schools closed for remainder of year

Gianna Holiday, Reporter

Gov. Roy Cooper announced in a press conference Friday that North Carolina’s K-12 schools will continue online education for the remainder of the school year.

Schools have been closed since his March 14 executive order.

“We don’t make this decision lightly but it’s important to protect the health and safety of our students and our school staff,” Cooper said.

Cooper said that “proactive” health and safety plans will be implemented with hopes of returning in the fall. 

The governor hopes to also assist students, notably those who are younger, with the option of a summer or early fall “jump start” to help them prepare for their next academic year.

This will depend on the meeting of health guidelines that will be established later, Cooper said. 

Cooper also announced plans for a new state budget proposal, which includes $740.4 million of funding for education and other state services.

Internet availability for students is another area of concern that the governor noted. He announced of a partnership with AT&T and Duke Energy. AT&T will provide 100 school bus hot spots to give more students internet access and Duke Energy will provide 80.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson emphasized that even the next academic year will not be “business as usual,” and that a plan is being formulated.

School boards and superintendents are also determining how students will be graded for the current academic year, and if there will be “Pass/Fail” options instead.

Cooper and Johnson noted there would be work done to support distance learning, school lunch programs and training for education employees.