NC Senate passes bill requiring schools to offer in-person option, sends it to House

COVID-19 and schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina Senate voted Tuesday to pass a bill that will require school districts to offer an in-person option for learning.

The vote was 29-15. The House will take it up next.

Hours after Gov. Roy Cooper (D) urged schools to allow more kids to come back in person last week, Wake County’s Board of Education voted to resume in-person learning the week of Feb. 15.

Pre-K through third grade will be allowed back under Plan A, which calls for minimal social distancing. All other grades will return in three-cohort rotations to comply with Plan B, which calls for six feet of social distancing.

Dr. Mandy Cohen and Cooper have urged school districts to allow in-person instruction. State health guidance allows for Plan A in grades K-5 and Plan B in grades 6-12.

Cooper has not mandated that schools reopen.

The governor has raised concerns about the bill being voted on this week for allowing school districts the choice of going back either under Plan A or B regardless of grade level. He has not said if he would veto it.

The North Carolina Association of Educators has called for teachers and other school employees to be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. They’re included in Group 3 with other frontline essential workers.

It’s not clear when North Carolina will move to Group 3. The state is currently in Group 2, which includes people 65 years and older.

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