Wednesday, July 1, North Carolina parents, students, teachers and communities were once again stymied by a lack of vision and understanding on the part of Governor Cooper as he announced he was delaying a decision on what plans he will be making on public school structures. It is time now for the local school administration and school board to take charge and show leadership rather than wait for the governor who continues to vacillate and make decisions without consideration of the consequences.

In early May the governor announced the schedule for the traditional school calendar would begin for teachers August 11 and that students would return August 17. In early June he presented the Strong Schools NC Toolkit describing three scenarios the state’s schools were charged to prepare for school operation based on COVID-19 statistics.

The three plans to be developed by the 115 local school districts are designed to control or hopefully stop the spread of the coronavirus among students, teachers and staff. Under plan ‘A’ students would return to their schools with spatial distancing as much as possible; extensive cleaning of the facilities on a very regular schedule and the restriction on social gathering, including elimination of meals in the cafeterias.

Under plan ‘B’, the governor has proposed a hybrid arrangement with students spending part of their school time in seated classrooms and a portion of time learning remotely, utilizing the same restrictions as detailed in Plan ‘A.’ Plan ‘C’ is the most restrictive, involving only remote learning with no seated classroom time in the schools.

Citing a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, Cooper announced last week he is delaying any announcement for school guidance until mid-July. That will be 33 days before students would return if the governor maintains the proposed schedule opening of Aug. 17.

Thirty-three days is not sufficient time for the schools, their teachers, parents, students and the community at large to prepare for implementation of any of the plans other than Plan ‘A. That plan is most manageable since it follows the standard school environment. But even that plan will prove to be both economically and structurally disruptive. Schools will have to bring on more personnel, purchase additional supplies and alter teaching schedules to accommodate spatial distancing in the schools.

Wake County, upon hearing the governor’s delay, announced plans to implement the Plan ‘B’ program. The traditional school students in Wake County will be divided into three groups with each group independently spending one week in seated classrooms and two weeks remotely learning.

The governor has boxed himself in by announcing the opening of school in mid-August. This has started the clock rolling for the state’s school districts. Precious time and money has been spent to prepare for this schedule and there is no surplus of either to be utilized as the governor continues to “kick the can down the road.”

Considering the unknowns that teachers, their students and parents are facing, the county school board should take a cue from Wake County and announce its plans regardless of the governor’s time table.

Unfortunately, the county school board and administration are involved in handling multiple internal crises in addition to the pandemic. In November the school board began a search for a new superintendent after the board made the situation untenable for then superintendent Matt Bottoms who announced his retirement at the end of the year. The county’s new superintendent, Dr. Rob Jackson, was selected by the school board the same day the board voted to discontinue its early college program, Marine and Science Technology (MaST) conducted at Carteret Community College. The planned closure of MaST resulted in the school’s principal, Deanne Rosen, announcing her resignation this week. Now the school board must find a principal who will oversee the slow dissolution of this highly prized and successful school program.

In addition to bringing on a new superintendent and a new principal for the early college program, the school board is preparing to sell taxpayers on a much needed school bond. And now the pandemic is totally disrupting every aspect of the public education environment for the county and the state.

The lyrics from the Rolling Stones song “Time Waits for No One,” by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, has one reprise “Time waits for no one, no favors has he; time waits for no one, and he won’t wait for me” which applies to the situation the county faces.

The county school board and its administration need not wait for Governor Cooper. The teachers, parents, students and community need to know now what the plan is for the first semester of the traditional school year. If there are changes to be made at mid-course, so be it. But time and money is wasting and neither will wait. It is time for the county school system to make its announcement.

(15) comments

David Collins

Wow , are we in a mess ! We have a do nothing but dither Governor and school boards that make you wonder what the heck are they thinking . These democratic “leaders” that apparently can not lead are getting real old . Old enough to stink when examined under the light of day . Good God folks , get some new blood flowing in these positions and do not elect any former educators . They just bring the same old failed ideas with them . In the meantime put pressure on what we have got and make some darned decisions NOW . This phase A , B , and C with a slew of modified versions is not going to properly educate anyone and you know it . On line learning is at best a dismal failure for the preteen bunch and varies in effectiveness for the older crowd . You have to log on and be motivated to learn and it appears 30% are not even logging in . Not much future for them .

Have been told if Biden wins in November , the virus will miraculously be cured , the schools and colleges will resume normality and David Muir will shut up .

mpjeep

Schools need to open, but our Tyrant Governor Cooper still won't make a decision causing some school districts to make a decision on their own. His reason seems to be political....so sad.

And he's led around through the nose by Dr. Mandy. Most all doctors err on the side of caution due to lawsuits. Doctors won't take much of a risk.

So if we continue with these liberal leaders we will get what Biden wants: Defund police, medicare for all, abolish immigration and ICE, reparations to all black Americans, higher taxes and on and on.

If Biden wins we will see more rioters, more AOC and more Bernie Sanders wants for socialism. We can't let this happen. Vote

Osprey

We need to do whatever Trump does with Barron and Ivanka does with Arabella, Joseph & Theodore Kushner.

Sleepwalker

“And David Muir will shut up”. That’s some good stuff there.

beachmami13

For me, one thing I really notice during this time is the lack of affordable childcare, especially for those who work in the service industries. I've talked to many people who have relied on school to be able to work and can't work or are leaving their kids alone b/c they have no other option. I think this should be one of the issues that this county addresses more completely before they start spending additional $$ that is unnecessary for fancy admin. buildings, million dollar playgrounds and so on. With the drive to attracting more retirees, the area will require more worker bees in low paying jobs who need subsidized childcare in order to work for the many tourism related/service industry companies. The drive to increase the minimum wage is prob. due in part to the fact that parents cannot afford childcare on a low paying job. Although there are many issues this county should address, helping those that they expect to take care of the many retirees and vacationers should be an important consideration.

David Collins

If the National Minimum Wage goes up to $15/hr , then everyone will earn at least that . Including those working in day care . Day care will become more expensive for everyone so what will have changed , except for the numbers . Those that can not afford to pay for it now still will not able to afford it then . The cost of goods and services will rise , as well . Always does . Different numbers , same results .

beachmami13

I agree. I don't know what the solution is. I'm fortunate I chose a job where I can work from home & raise kids. Not all people are. There's a lack of subsidized childcare to help those worker bees. I know providing that would make a bigger difference than a 7 million dollar admin. building.

kenwood

The good editor continues to harp on our governor, I would guess because he, the governor, is not a Republican. The governor obviously is apprehensive regarding when and how to return our schools to normal operation due to the changing aspects of the virus situation, and the resistance by all to many to acknowledge the dangers and uncertainties regarding same.

This page has blindly called for the governor to lift controls even while cases and deaths in our state were on the rise. This past weeks data shows that those states

that have maintained controls, like NY, NJ, RI, and Mass, show and increase in cases of only 1%, while NC had a 13% increase, Georgia an 18% increase, Tennessee 18%, South Carolina 22%. The good editor might ask himself where would North Carolina be if the Governor had followed his advise.

Many may disagree with how the disease spreads and the methods on how to retain / eliminate it, but all reasonable, thinking people will acknowledge that the virus is not political in nature.

David Collins

True the virus is not in itself political but it can be , will be and is being politicized . Our schools have been closed but the Excel Learning Center , which is full of children at this moment , has not been shut down . By the way , as of yesterday , not a face mask in sight ! Do the folks there know something we subhumans don’t ? Just seems strange but these are strange days .

David Collins

Could be that because those aforementioned states had a huge number of covid cases initially it would take a huge number of new cases to move the percentages much . That is where percentages can lie cheat and steal if manipulated . Far more interested in deaths because of Covid and not just because the virus was present . There is a huge difference and is NEVER mentioned on our alphabet leftist news propaganda stations Excuse for the nightly news .

Rusty Scupper

Many teachers, teacher assistants, cafeteria staff, support staff and administration are vulnerable to COVID due to health issues and age. I’ve not seen much consideration of these folks. All I hear is “Get the kids back in school so the parents can go back to work.” It’s a troubling choice we’re facing. If Carteret County School staff opt for early retirements to stay safe, there will be an even larger problem to solve.

David Collins

Please do not give them any ideas , Rusty .

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SandFiddler

After Labor Day when tourists have finished depositing Covid in every nook and cranny of this county, our "leaders" will probably close up again due to increased cases. So why open schools for just a little while if they will eventually close again? Why expose everyone even more? Until this country realizes that contact with others spreads this virus and this virus is indeed real and does kill, we may never conquer it. The country opened too quickly before the virus could get under control and now we are all suffering the consequences. If they had just held up a few more months, I suspect we would be seeing less cases.

beachmami13

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Benelli

Notice the good editor never proposes any solutions, just complaints. Sounds like whiny victim mentality. Let’s just wait for Dan Forests plan, you know, the one that doesn’t exist.

Welcome to the discussion.

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