Cooper updates plans for NC schools during pandemic
Gov. Roy Cooper announces that school districts can reopen their elementary schools in early October during his Sept. 17, 2020, update on the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina and the state's response to it.
this 1552 new cases reported since yesterday, 894 people in the hospital and, sadly, 3180 people who have died. We join those in mourning and add our prayers for those suffering right now, before I give an update on Cove in 19 I'd like to recognize emergency management director Mike Spray Berry to speak on the tropical weather crossing North Carolina today and tomorrow. We've readied Swiftwater rescue teams and activated National Guard soldiers with high clearance vehicles in case rescues air needed directs. Berry Berry I'll turn it over to you to share more information. Thank you, Governor, and thank you for your leadership. Today is Day 1 92 of the state emergency operation Centers. Covad 19 Response. The state Yosi is also activated today for tropical depression Sally. The rains from tropical Depression Sally are now falling across North Carolina. Almost all of the state is under the threat of potential flash flooding. Widespread rainfall of 3 to 5 inches is expected with localized amounts of up to eight inches, with those types of rainfall amounts. We know from experience that flooding in some areas could be significant. Tornadoes air also a threat With this storm. South Carolina has already seen several tornado warnings. Today, as the governor was speaking about, he has authorized a team of National Guard soldiers with Humvees to be ready in case they're needed for water rescues. We also have two large Swiftwater rescue teams ready to respond both assets or staged and prepared to deploy. These resource is air ready to go a soon as they need to. And they also have, uh, mawr teams ready at their respective home stations. As we go through a period of heavy rains this evening and overnight tonight, we ask that you stay home unless you have an urgent need to travel. There will likely be many places where roads are flooded or covered by water. When a road is covered by water, you don't know what's underneath. The road surface might not be there, and you could be driving into a washout or sinkhole. So remember, turn around, don't drown. This is wise advice that was provided to me years ago by my strong partner, Colonel Glenn McNeill, the commander of the State Highway Patrol. He and his team have seen too many tragic endings to drivers who decided to drive into flooded roadways during severe weather. It's also best to ensure that you have a way to receive flood warnings and tornado warnings that will alert you if you're sleeping. You can use a NOAA weather radio or download a weather app on your phone that will alert you if a warning is issued in your location. Another tool for situational awareness for flooding is the state's flood inundation. Mapping an alert network or Faymann, it allows you to monitor water levels at more than 500 river stream and coastal gauges across the state. You can use it to register for flood alerts in your area as well. The website is faymann dot n c dot gov. That's F i m a n dot n c dot gov. By following these steps, you can enhance your safety and those of your loved ones. And don't forget whatever your reason, now is the time to get behind the mask where weight and wash. This is how we slow the spread of the virus. It works and always don't forget to look out for your family, friends and neighbors to call your loved ones daily with kindness and cooperation. We'll all get through this together as one team, one mission and one family. Thank you, Governor. Thank you. Direct spray, Berry. And thank you for always having your team ready to go. Now, today we'll have an update on our coronavirus trends and metrics from Dr Mandy Cohen, our secretary of the North Carolina department. I felt the human services as she'll show most North Carolinians air doing the hard work to improve our numbers and trends. Many people are wearing mask keeping social distance and being careful to protect others as well as themselves. We have shown that listening to the science works and I'm proud of our resolve. As a result, our key numbers have stabilized or even decreased in some instances, for sustained period. This determination has slowed the spread of this virus. It's kept our hospital capacity stable and without a doubt it has saved lives. It has also put our state in position to move another careful step forward in a critical area. Schools. Today I announced that North Carolina Public School District's will be permitted to choose option A for their elementary school students only in kindergarten through fifth grade. As we laid out this summer, Option A continues to include important safety measures like required face coverings for all students, teachers and staff, social distancing and symptoms screening. But Plan A does not require schools to reduce the number of Children in the classroom. Students in grades six through 12 still must operate on Lee, other under option B, which is partially in person and partially remote, or Option C, which is all remote. I want to be clear. Plan A may not be right at this time for many school district's and for every family opportunities for remote learning need to be available for families who choose it. And District's will have the flexibility to select a plan based on their unique situation. Were able to open this option because most North Carolinians have doubled down on our safety and prevention measures and stabilized our numbers. The science of lower viral spread among younger Children also backs up this decision, which Dr Cohen will address further. I'm proud of our work to get to this point and know that a number of school district's are moving soon to in person instruction under Plan B with strong safety measures, we anticipate more will join them off all the disruptions. Covert 19 is created. Education is the most challenging to address. As the school year has started, I know that many parents are facing difficult choices and nearly impossible balancing acts between work, other obligations and dealing with their Children. Being home, parenting is hard enough without a pandemic. Same goes for teaching or running a school. Our teachers, principals and school support staff are doing more than ever, and we wanna make sure that all of these options are safe for them. The number one opening priority during this pandemic has been our schools, and our continuing progress in fighting the spread of this virus is allowing us to do a little more. The more people wear masks and act responsibly the mawr we slow the spread of the virus and the mawr Children we can get safely in our schools. I appreciate all of the parents, teachers, superintendents, school staff and Mawr who've worked to support our Children at this critical time and to keep them safe. We've also communicated and work with Eric Davis, who is the chairman of our state Board of Education and Mark Johnson, the superintendent of public instruction, To help get us to this point. With that continued effort, we could do this the right way for our students. Now I'd like to ask Dr Cohen to present the data and to speak Maura about today's announcement. Dr. Cohen. Well, thank you, Governor. I'm so appreciative of your steadfast leadership and your commitment to science and data driven decision making. So let's dive right into the data as a reminder. Every week we look at a combination of trend metrics co vid like syndrome, A cases lab confirmed cases. Positive test is a percentage of total tests and hospitalizations. Some of these indicators air timelier than others. But together they give us a picture of where we are today. With our first graph, we look at people who come to the emergency department with co vid like symptoms. This is the most timely data we have, and it's our earliest detection mechanism. Taking a look at the yellow line, you can see that it continues to decline. This is a positive sign, but you can also see that this line is still high above its baseline. We know that our baseline generally starts to tick up in the fall as flu season begins, putting more stress on our hospitals. So it's extra important this year that you get your flu shot on to our next slide. We look at confirmed cases. This first graf on cases gives you a look at the trajectory of new cases each day. Since we had our first case back in March, you can see our peak was back in July, and then we had a bump in cases in August, coinciding with universities and college opening. And now you could see that that yellow line is going down in the last couple of weeks. So let's zoom in to get a better sense of the current picture on this graph. We're looking at that same case data, and you can follow that yellow line. You still see that high in July and then that bump towards the end of August, and then you see that line decreasing over the last couple of weeks. But we're still seeing 1000 plus cases a day, and today, as the governor said, we had 1500 new cases to get to get to that continued downward trend that we're looking for. We all need to double down on those key preventive steps, especially wearing a face covering over your mouth and your nose whenever you are with people that don't live with you. Next, let's move on to the percent of tests that are positive. You heard me say that I want to see this number closer to 5%. We're now seeing days where we are meeting that goal, and we need to keep that up. This is an encouraging sign that tells us the steps we're taking to reduce viral transmission in our community are working. Thank you. The next slide. We also see progress in steady decline in day over day hospitalizations. We continue toe have sufficient hospital capacity. So positive news. All right, so here's where we are. Our surveillance data is continuing to decline, Though it remains elevated above its baseline. It gets a yellow line. North Carolina's trajectory of confirmed cases is declining, but the number of new cases is still too high. It gets a yellow line. North Carolina's trajectory in percent of test returning positive is declining, which is a great sign, but it gets a yellow line, and North Carolina's trajectory of hospitalization is declining, although higher than we want to see again, we continue tohave enough hospital capacity again gets a yellow line. All right now, on to our capacity indicators. We're seeing riel progress on expanding access to testing. We're deploying no cost testing events across the state and testing turnaround times have really improved. Testing is moving in the right direction. Believe more work to dio on contact tracing. We continue hiring contact tracers to bolster the efforts of our local health department. And next week we'll be launching our new exposure notification app on PPE supplies. We remain stable. We continue to distribute that PPE across the state. However, we are concerned that FEMA has now put in new restrictions and is now on Lee funding PPE for healthcare workers when we know there are many other essential workers who need these supplies. So that's where we are today. All of this data shows that were on the right track, and we see similar positive data when we look at young Children. Since school started about a month ago, we've seen 10 school clusters across the state involving a total of 16 students and 46 staff members. In the last two weeks, we have seen the case numbers for school aged Children decline, a trend that is particularly strong amongst our younger elementary school Children. And there don't appear to be differences in community spread of the virus and district's where they're operating in a hybrid in person model versus an all remote learning model. That's good news. We also have the benefit of evolving science, which is currently showing that younger Children are less likely to become infected, less likely to have symptoms, experienced severe disease and less likely to spread the virus to others. The science also shows that in person, learning is so important for the development of all Children, and especially for younger Children. That's why we've been so focused since day one on getting kids back into the classroom, and we've developed comprehensive health and safety requirements that schools must implement no matter which plan they choose. Those requirements start with masks. Everyone in a school building students, teachers and staff are required to wear a face covering whether they choose Plan A or choose Plan B. This is a science and research based decision not an opinion. That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics and organization of 67,000 pediatricians recommends mass for all Children two and up. And I'm proud that so many North Carolinians air following this medical guidance. While we can reduce risk, we can never eliminate it. Plan A May Not be right. The right plan for all District's those district's choosing to move their elementary schools to plan a will need time to prepare so that they can meet the strong health and safety guidelines that are required. And families will need to consider their own family's health risk when making decisions about in person versus remote learning. Regardless of the plan a district chooses, every family should have the option for full time remote learning, and it's up to all of us to protect our progress. Our individual actions, like those three W's, will help keep our school doors open. That also means getting your flu shot and wearing your face covering over your nose and mouth, waiting 6 ft apart and washing your hands often before I turn it back to the governor. I want to express my gratitude to all of the teachers principals school staff and superintendents across North Carolina. As you know, I'm a Wake County public school parent, and my girls are currently in remote learning for 1st and 3rd grades. I'm so appreciative of all the hard work and planning that's gone into keeping my girls engaged and learning. Remember where weight and wash and whatever your reason, get behind the mask. Thank you, Governor. Thank you, Dr Cohen, for your work and your teams work to ensure that we're following science and data as we make headway against this pandemic. Also with us today, a Secretary of public safety, Eric Cooks, Monica McGee and Nicole Fox are our sign language interpreters behind the scene. Jackie and Jasmine Motive er our our Spanish language interpreter's. We will now take questions. And if you can identify yourself and your organization, we'll take the first one. Our first question is from Joe Bruno Wsoc. Yeah, thank you for taking my question. My question is for Dr Cohen. You just said that the science shows young Children don't spread the virus as easily. But last week, the C D. C. Put out a study in Utah that showed that some young Children in childcare facilities did spread cove in 19 toe household members. So what science backs up your statement there. Thanks, Joe, for that question, and it's important to know when I say younger Children transmit the virus less often. It doesn't mean that it's not ever. We know that Children can transmit this virus, But what we're seeing is, it seems like particularly in younger age Children, particularly under the age of 10. It seems that studies show that there seems to be less viral transmission from Children back to their household or from Children to other, uh, Children that there are around again, less likely and it. But it doesn't mean we eliminate risk. That is exactly why, no matter what plan a district chooses to move forward with, there are strong safety protocols, including a mask, a mask for everyone, all kids, all teachers, all staff, including screening when you get into the buildings, including safety protocols like washing your hands often and making sure that the schools are washing down and and sanitizing high public areas. So there's a lot of safety protocols in there because we know we cannot eliminate risk. Um, and that is why we're also telling families to make sure they're assessing their own risk for their family. Um, they have to understand what is the right decision for for their family in terms of remote learning versus going back to in person instruction. Thanks, Joe. Next question, please. Follow up, Joe. Bruno Wsoc. This is a question on the minds of a lot of parents of kindergarteners through fifth graders. Well, Halloween be ableto happen this year with the current state of our numbers in north Carolina dot com and I'll let you take that one. Hi, Joe. Thanks for that question. So Halloween will be ableto happen. But what, of course, will need additional safety protocols. So my public health team, um, is working on those right now, so stay tuned from for additional guidance Azzawi in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for that. Next question, please. Our next question is from Jonah Kaplan with ABC 11. Good afternoon, Governor. Secretary Colin. Secretary Hooks, Secretary Spray Berry. Appreciate your time with us today. Uh, my question really is you talked about the importance of students being in school. You're now going to given the option of Plan A. You talked about how you know, there's really no replacing, uh, for time in the classroom. At what point do you tell school district? You have to move to Plan B. At what point do you give? Tell School District's listen. We know there are concerns with teachers, but we have to give parents the choice of being in the classroom. Well, first, we're gonna continue to look at the science and the data that's going to be our guiding star. This has been a collaborative approach we've brought in educators. We've talked to teachers, superintendents, health officials. Decisions are being made when they look at the numbers. And we believe that these options are important for District's to be able to consider in their particular areas because they're situations may be unique. I look forward to today so the to the day when we can get our schools back to normal. But we know that we have to put safety as a priority. We know that most likely when we do get our students back in school, we're still going to need to have mass and social distancing and cleaning until we can stamp out this virus, and we know that that's going to be a little while from now. So we look forward to that day. But But right now, we're gonna continue following the science and make sure that we present these options for local school boards and all of those options have good protections for Children. Next question. Yeah. Follow up. Jonah Kaplan, ABC 11 uh, to Governor Cooper and Shana Tova. Dr. Cohen, my question as well. We talked about this before, but if you talk about the data, you talk about the metrics. You know, teachers and parents like to give incentives to Children to make sure if they do good work, then they get rewarded. So what specific data and metrics can we reach? If we're already now hugging the 5% line? What can we aim for? Give us something tangible to get at where we know if we reach this, we can have middle school of Plan A. We can have high school plan A. We can have movie theaters open. What are the specific metrics were aiming for? Thank you. Well, we want to bring down the surveillance number of people coming to the emergency room with symptoms of of Cove. It it's going down, but it's still a lot higher than we want it to be. We want to bring our case numbers down. They're going down, but they're still too high. We're glad to be at that fire around that 5% number for a few days. But on Lee, three or four days ago, we were up around six and seven, so we we'd like to be 5% and below. The thing is, we've stabilized and begun decreasing. But in most of these areas, everything is still too high. And I'll let Dr Cohen follow up to see if she's got something additional. Well, thanks. Jonah and Shana Tova. Um, I also wanted to point out that you have to understand what school reopening is. It's more than just the metrics. Understand that there are, um, extensive safety protocols that are required whether you're in Plan A or Plan B, and that takes time and effort to make sure those protocols can be put into place before students can come back into those buildings. So, yes, I think there are metric levels that we're going to be looking at, but understand there's also operational details that I know all of the district's air working through and that I know local health departments are working in coordination with their schools on. So I think it is not just purely about the numbers. It has to be about those safety protocols for our teachers, for our students as well. They have to go hand in hand. Thank you and I lad, I think our school systems have been doing a pretty good job, particularly the ones that have gone to Option B. They've worked very hard to try to make sure that those safety protocols are in place and there a lot of good success stories out there. And I'm grateful because it's hard. It's really hard to do what everybody is doing with the mask and the social distancing and still trying to teach but are amazing. Teachers and principals and school support staff are doing it across our state, and we commend them for it, and we know that they're putting safety first. That's critical. Next question, please. Our next question is from Dawn Dawn with the News and Observer. I am telling Bond with the newsroom server. Thanks for taking your questions. Why only K five schools eso when What would the timeline be for a middle school in high school to go back? And a There's already a virtual option. Why not let the students back now at the same time? Well, so uh, six through 12 can operate either all remotely or in Option B, which is part remote in part in person, and some school district's have gone toe Option B. We've only pushed for Option A for K through five because of Dr Coin's work and studying that there is a lower viral spread at that age, and I'm gonna let her address that issue again. Thanks, Governor. Thanks, Don, for that question, in terms of why we focused on K five really are two there. Two sides to that issue one are the risks, and the other is the benefit. Well, let me start with the benefit when we look at benefits of in person instruction. We know that for our younger kids, that is even more important in terms of having that in person instruction, eso the benefits are higher. But as we look at the risk also, there seems to be just a different way that the virus is interacting with our younger kids, they seem to get co vid less often. They get less severely sick, and they transmit it less often. And again, As I mentioned in the earlier question, it doesn't mean that they don't transmit it at all. Doesn't mean that they can't get it at all. It just seems like there is a differential way in which the virus is impacting those kids, which is good, which means the risk is lower at the start. But then we want to take the risk even further down. And that's why we have those safety protocols of masks, of social distancing of screening that that we're talking about. So we have higher benefit, lower risk. And that is what's making us say we can go forward with kindergarten through fifth grade at this time for Plan B. But again, this may not be right for every district. This may not be right for every family, but we wanna have that option available because we know how important in person learning is, particularly for our young kids. Thank you. Next question. Please follow up. Don von News and Observer. I think, um, on the if the classroom sizes aren't reduced how, What social distancing is there gonna be? And related? Thio is gathering size going to change. And then also on that front, do you have a response to the NC state football parents and others about being able to watch their students like regarding the social distancing in classrooms? Option A and Option B are very similar in all of the safety protocols they have, but the rial differences There can be more students in the classroom in Option A, but I'll let Dr Cohen address those issues as well. That's exactly right. So in Option A again, you have all of the same protocols that we had an option B in terms of face coverings and the social distancing and the screening an option. A. We we do allow for more kids in the classroom and not as, um, a ZMA much, um, on on the social distancing side. So we want to make sure social distancing is as far as possible when, when in the classrooms, um, but it's a little less restrictive than we are in Plan B. And as far as, uh, in terms of the football games, we very much recognize that parents want to see there their kids play. We are looking at that issue as our trends continue to improve and hope to have more on that soon. Thanks. Next question, please. The next question is where Michael Highland with CBS 17. Hi, Governor. This is Michael Highland from CBS 17. I want to ask about the timing of this announcement today. And to be clear, is this in any way a response to what we saw yesterday with the push among some Republican state leaders calling for schools to reopen? And also, what was your response? Uh, some of the comments made yesterday, including by Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest casting doubts on the science of wearing masks. Well, first, our number one priority from the get go has been to get our Children back into the classroom. We know the great benefits of in person learning. So this has been our plan. As our metrics improve and as our safety protocols are installed across our state were able to get Mawr students back into the classroom. That's a positive thing. And we think all of these options are gonna be positive. It's irresponsible to say we're going to fill up our classrooms. Now, with no safety measures and with no masks, the science is clear on Mass. They work to slow the spread of the virus. Dr. Redfield, the CDC director in Congress and his testimony, said, It is the most effective weapon that we have. When he held it up, Dr Berks, Dr Fauci, other members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force talk about how important it is for people toe wear mass. And when elected leaders and people important policy positions discourage the use of masks, then that becomes part of the problem. Because what you do is increase community spread when fewer people wear mask, particularly at larger gatherings, and therefore you make it harder for us to get our Children safely in school. You make it harder for us to be able to ease restrictions and to get our economy going full speed again, and you make it harder to slow the spread of the virus. Next question. Please follow up. Michael Highland's CBS 17 one question related to the school reopening guidelines we have seen in some states where they have laid out some more specific benchmarks for communities to hit, such as the rate of transmission of the virus and even laid out specific numbers that those areas need to reach to move toward greater reopening. Why has the state not taken that approach in terms of outlining what the process is going to be for moving forward with, sort of reopening? You are working with local school district's to help provide them data and working with their local health departments so that they know the particular metrics and data in their own district's. But I'll let Dr Cohen address that further. Thanks, Michael. As I was saying, in addition to the metrics which are important, we want to get viral spread down as low as we can, so we want our cases to be lower. We want our percent of test positive lower. We want to see less folks in the hospital. But you have to understand that we have to look at metrics and we have to look at safety protocols, right? So it is hard to say if you meet this metric, everything's going to be fine. It's not we're not in that position. You have to look at both the metrics as well as the safety protocols that are in the tool kit. And I know it is hard work to get those safety protocols in place. I know that our our, um, superintendent's our principles are teachers have been working on making sure that those protocols can be in place. I know that that for those, uh, places that have opened under Plan B already that was taking, ah, lot of work to make sure that they're doing the safety protocols. So again, it's about a combination of metrics and seeing those trends improved, but also making sure those protocols are in place. Thanks. Next question, please. Our next question is from Derek Dillinger with Fox 46. Thank you for taking my question. This is Derek eligible Fox 46 in Charlotte. Actually, two questions. I just want to be clear on the timing here. A. So far as the immediacy of this, let's just say a school district is going to be having ah, meeting tonight in regards to how they want to move forward and plan a Plan B and Plan C. Um, as long as the schools in the school district's air prepared, could they say, Hey, tonight we wanna go. Hey, as of Monday we're gonna be Plan A for K through five. Second question is in regards. Thio. Something's happened here a little bit more locally. Charlotte Mecklenburg school system some district, uh, including Charlotte Mecklenburg. They have already made plans that are further out, particularly Seamus. Last night, they said that K through five will be returning to Plan B on November 2nd. This came despite a little bit of back and forth, So I'm wondering if you are gonna be encouraging some of these districts to reconsider, and if so, why? Or why not? The answer to the first question is you cannot institute option A or implement option A until October the fifth. We know that it takes planning. So no, they could not start it tonight in no school system would because they'd want to make sure that they have transportation squared away and have have dealt with all of the logistical issues that they would need to deal with. As to the second, uh, situation going from a Plan C to a Plan B is a reasonable option for any district, and they do need to make these plans out into the future so that parents can prepare and that the system will be ready for whatever decisions that they make. We are giving them one more option here that they can look at. They would obviously need to look at their local metrics and look at, uh, the situation that they are in. But it is an option for them, and it is something to consider between now and then. Dr. Cohen, would you have anything next question, please? Our next question is from Daniel Jackson with Wghp. Good afternoon, Governor Cooper. Daniel Jackson with Fox eight News. My first question is in regards to the exposure app. You talk a little bit more with a lot of students coming back into the classroom. How this will help. I'm sorry. What was the exposure? Okay, I'll let you take your, uh, earlier smooth coming back into the classroom. How that will help. Hi, Danielle. It's it's Mandy Co. And I'll take that one. And so this is something that we're right now we are in the beta test version of we're working with a number of our university and college partners, and testing is, um, what it does. Is it something that you can download onto your phone and it protects your privacy. So there's there's no there is no concern about personal, identifiable information, but what it lets you do is get notified if there's someone you have been exposed to who test positive for Cove it. So we're hoping thio decrease the time it takes for someone to find out their positive, get in touch with their cases. We would just have this app that would would allow you to know right away if you've been exposed. So it's something that is new and stay tuned. Next week we'll do a full rollout, and I'll go into a lot more detail about how you can download it and how it's gonna work across North Carolina. Thanks. Thank you. And we're excited about that and hope it. It helps with our contact tracing. Next question, please. Our next question is from Travis Fain with WRL. Yeah, thank you for taking my question. I understand, uh, that this particular announcement does not drill down on this, but special needs students who are slowly getting virtual help from their school district. What can be done for them particularly? I understand that that that that's a district by district decision. But is there anything kind of on the horizon beyond this? Uh, to help those parents, those families get mawr of the support that they were used to before this pandemic? It's a great question. I've talked to several special needs teachers and some special needs parents. And remote learning is a really challenge for many special needs kids. I have been amazed at a number of these teachers who have been able to be innovative and who have been ableto have some success with remote learning. I think everybody agrees that in person learning, particularly for special needs kids, is critical. And it's one of the things that plays into a decision like this, because there are a lot of Children who need in person learning and that risk benefit that Dr Cohen talked about. ITT's really acute when you're talking about Children with special needs. It's also why I dedic dedicated no money from The Cares Act that was in the governor's discretion to make sure we give school systems mawr money to deal with this issue because we know how important and personal that it could be dot Cohen, would you wanna Hi, Travis, just so quickly. District's right now could be in a Plan B option and have kids with special needs, um, becoming for in person instruction. But I recognize that that does take a lot of effort with the various protocols in place. So not every district has been ready to move to that, but I know they are all trying to work in that direction. I think with our announcement today, like the governor said, we're trying to give folks even mawr options to bring a greater range of students, particularly our younger students and elementary schools, back into the classroom, because we know how how important that is. But I will just wanted to remind everyone that even in middle school in high school, schools can open right now in in Plan B option, which allows for that in person learning eso I know school district's air, looking at different ways to, um, phase in bringing kids back to school and are thinking about how can they get their special needs kids back into the classroom as quickly as possible? Um, so I say everyone is working hard on this. I know the district's are are trying to pay attention to this again. We're trying to give one more option. Um, for school district's thio to consider as they work through this. Thanks. Next question. Please come follow up. Travis saying WRL thanks for the follow up on A. I know there are a lot of difficult decisions being made by people at different levels. You have been criticized your team for being too cautious. Is there anything we should read into this decision on planet? Are their school systems that you all think have been too cautious or have has the response kind of at a 30,000 ft level from local schools? Been about right. From my perspective, I do think it's about right what they've done. I think you have now seen a number of systems that have been all remote that have begun the process to move into option B, which would allow for some in person instruction. So I think you're seeing a natural progression there. Uh, local systems are seeing that things were getting a little bit better in their metrics in the state metrics, so they're ready to go to go there. Some of the school systems that started out in option B are ready to look at trying to go to Option A, and we wanted to be able to give them that opportunity. And so we think that this is the right move at the right time. Uh, if I'm criticized for being too cautious, it's because we're putting the safe safety and health of our students and teachers and our families first. And we want to make the right decisions. That puts safety A to the head of the goal. Uh, Dr Colin would you want Okay. Next question, please. Our next question is from Richard Craver with the Winston Salem Journal. Yes, Governor. This is Richard Craver with the Winston Salem Journal. I was gonna ask you a couple of questions, one of which is by doing K through five. Well, you'll be able to figure out the logistics in terms of bus rods and things like that in terms of routes to be able to help district's determine how they can bring 6 to 12 back in. And how long do you feel like that will take? Well, first, we do recognize that school bus, uh, logistics are difficult and that that's going to be part of the planning that is going to need to take place before schools go into option A. And I know already that Dr Cohen's team has been doing a significant amount of work on this, and I'll let her address it. Thanks, Richard. So as far as our recommendations for Busses, um, we are still recommending to district, even if they move to plan A for in person instruction to really, if they're at all possible to continue with density reduction on Busses, it's not a requirement. But I think density reduction and more social distancing on Busses, um would would eyes something that we're recommending. We do, of course, require face coverings on all of of the bus is that kids are riding eso. We do think that there are safety protocols in place, but this is challenging justice challenging as, um, some of the protocols at the building. We know the bus is present a logistical challenges. Well, I think why you keep hearing us say over and over, we know that this takes time. We want to make sure that, um, our our safety protocols are in place and that that is not easy to dio. We look forward to continuing to work with our education partners on how we can help them meet those safety requirements, but also get kids back in the classroom. Thanks. Next question. Please follow up. Richard Craver, Winston Salem Journal. Yes, Secretary Cohen. I'm following up on the conversation from Tuesday's press conference. Um, in the last couple of days, have you seen any kind of trends related to cases with Labor Day or the Trump Rally here in Winston Salem? Thanks, Richard. We went through the trends today. You know, we continue to see declines in our metrics, which is good. Um, I think we're now 2.5 weeks from from Labor Day, 2.5 weeks from easing of restrictions. Um, and that is about the time where we would want to make sure that we're looking at at our metrics. So I think we still need to look at those over the next week or so again. Today we had 1500 cases a little bit on the higher side that we have. Is that is that a one day? Is that a trend? That's why it's really hard on any one day to to use that data and make decisions. That's why we look at trends. I think overall, we've made progress. But as we keep talking about that, progress can be fragile. It takes takes intentional work to keep those trends moving in the right direction. It's why we're gonna keep talking about masks is why we're gonna keep talking about social distancing as we move through this. Because we have to keep it up in order to keep making that progress. Thanks. Next question, please. Our final questions. It will be from Kate Martin with Carolina Public promise. Good afternoon, Governor. This is Kate Martin with Carolina Public Press. Um, I have a couple of questions. Uh, first, how many districts have asked for this option? And second, I'm wondering, um, you know, health officials are saying there could be a resurgence of the coronavirus later this fall. Um, what would it take for you to perhaps go backward in restrictions and requiring, uh, less in person instruction and that sort of thing? Thank you. I don't know specifically how many district's have asked for this. I do know that there are a number of district's that do want to doom or in person instruction and we want to encourage mawr in person instruction because we do believe the risk benefit is positive for students on way. Wanna keep health and safety A two Very first. Um, what was the second part? I'm gonna let you follow up because I can't remember the second part of your question. The second part is health officials around the nation are saying that there could be a resurgence, another spike in coronavirus cases. I apologize. We we won't hesitate if we believe it's necessary to pull back thes options if the health and safety of students and teachers are at risk. We did that in March when we made the decision to go to full remote learning at the onset of this coronavirus pandemic. And if we had to do that again, we will. We're hoping that we can continue to make progress on this pandemic and that we can continue to ease restrictions move forward. You have to follow up to No, that was it. I Oh, great. Okay. Thank you all very much. We look forward to seeing you next time. Stay safe and healthy. Everyone