New realities for NC schools may stretch resources, alter operations, state educators say

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Dr. Anthony Fauci recently warned that students might not get back into the classroom this fall, and that has some parents questioning if that’s going to be a reality in North Carolina.

Gov. Roy Cooper recently allocated more than $200 million in federal dollars to North Carolina schools, but many experts agree that millions more will be needed before the fall semester begins.

As educators across the state work to wrap up the spring semester online, North Carolina Association of Educators President Mark Jewell says one thing is becoming increasingly clear.

“Nothing replaces that in-person instruction,” said Jewell.

“From a mental health perspective it’s been challenging for children to not be around peers,” said Dr. Stephanie Davis, Chair of the UNC Department of Pediatrics.

Cooper recently vowed to find a way to reopen schools in the fall, but it’s still unclear if it will even remotely resemble what students left behind in March.

“What we do know is that there won’t be 1000 kids in a building, 30 kids in a classroom, or a packed bus,” said Jewell. “There’s going to have to be a lot of work done prior to that time.”

“This is a marathon,” said Davis. “It’s not a sprint. There will be a new normal.”

Though he admits online learning is far from perfect, State Superintendent Mark Johnson has floated the idea of a hybrid classroom.

“Does that mean that we alternate and have half the children go one day to school to try and encourage social distancing,” asked Davis.

Whatever state leaders decide Jewell says it’s going to take resources that many schools simply don’t have.

“That means temperature checks,” said Jewell. “That means PPE. That means sanitation materials for continuous cleaning. As we know we could be remote learning, an distance learning for quite some time.”

CBS 17 reached out to the Department of Public Instruction, but Superintendent Mark Johnson was unavailable for comment on this story.

We have learned that the education advisory board organized by Johnson could have some early recommendations for public schools as early as next week.

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