‘This is not an insurmountable task’ – newly elected NC superintendent talks COVID-19 response

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Fresh off her Election Night win, Catherine Truitt (R) said she’s ready for her new role as state superintendent of public instruction.

“I feel great, but the enormity of the task in front of me is definitely top of mind,” said Truitt.

Truitt defeated Democratic challenger Jen Mangrum.

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She knows challenges will remain with the pandemic.

“We do have to be very cautious about what safety looks like in our schools and for our teachers as well,” said Truitt. “This is not an insurmountable task. We can figure out how to do this safely and we do have a lot of districts who have prioritized getting their students back to school safely.”

There are currently more than 400 COVID-19 cases in K-12 schools in North Carolina and dozens of clusters.

Appletree Development Center and Kids R Kids are two schools in Wake County with cases.

Truitt said state leaders need to do what’s necessary to keep teachers and students safe.

However, she thinks the cases and reopening guidelines should be controlled locally and monitored on the ground by local school leaders and health officials.

“As a parent, I may want my kids back in school, but as a state superintendent I am going to support what Charlotte, Mecklenburg, Winston-Salem, what those larger districts decide to do is what they decide to do.”

She said the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Board of Education and Governor’s Office need stronger coordination to provide more consistent plans.

“I think our teachers want more predictability, as well as our parents, and I know our school leaders sure do,” she said.

Truitt said her top priority is getting more kids up to speed with their math and reading levels.

“We actually have a reputation in this country for being very political when it comes to education and I’m hoping my leadership can de-escalate some of that.”

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