As new school year approaches, NC officials can't agree on how to keep students safe
With the planned start to the school year less than six weeks off, state leaders are still debating how best to keep students healthy during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.Posted — Updated
The issue isn't partisan, either, with members of the same party far apart on what safety measures schools should take.
Under the law as it now stands, a rotation wouldn't be allowed for the first week, and all students would be required to be in school.
So far, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger has refused to agree to such a change.
Meanwhile, Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson is pushing for more precautions for students.
"Now, instead of one student every six feet in an enclosed school bus, there could be at least one child in every seat, putting students only one to two feet apart," Johnson wrote in the letter. "While I support efforts to overcome the challenges associated with transportation, this revision now places elementary students very close together for prolonged periods of time in enclosed spaces without face coverings."
Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, responded Wednesday by noting that the updated requirements call for everyone, including elementary school students, to wear masks on school buses.
The changes were made after DPI and the State Board of Education heard from school administrators that enforcing 6 feet of separation between every student on a bus would reduce their capacity from 72 to eight, Cohen said.
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