NC Decision Tree for ReOpening Schools
Governor Cooper has implemented a three-phased approach to slowly lift restrictions while combating COVID-19, protecting North Carolinians and working together to recover the economy.
Families and students should use this guidance to understand what health practices will be in place when students return to school All public schools will be required to follow certain health practices in this guidance noted as “required ” Many schools may also choose to implement some or all of the recommended practices.
Local education leaders are required to use this guidance to understand what health practices they must meet, and to develop detailed district and school plans for how to implement all required health practices described in this toolkit. The Public Health Toolkit should be used in combination with operational guidance provided by NCDPI which includes strategies to implement the health guidance in schools, and to address other non-health areas for reopening planning, including scheduling supports, how to approach instructional practice, and providing staff training.
The Governor’s Office and NCDHHS, in consultation with NCSBE and NCDPI, will determine how schools can reopen safely for the 2020-21 school year based on the state’s COVID-19 metrics by July 1st, 2020.
• The percentage of positive tests relative to the total number of tests
• The number of daily hospitalizations
• The number of emergency department visits for COVID-like illness
• Overall state capacity for testing, contract tracing and supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Local education leaders are directed to plan for reopening K-12 public schools under three potential scenarios, depending on what restrictions are necessary when school opens, or at any time in the school year, to control the spread of the disease.
Schools are required to create the following three plans:
• Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing – Will be implemented assuming state COVID-19 metrics continue to stabilize and/or move in a positive direction All requirements in this guidance apply to Plan A
• Plan B: Moderate Social Distancing – Will be required if state COVID-19 metrics worsen and it is determined additional restrictions are necessary All requirements in this guidance apply, with additional requirements in the Social Distancing and Minimizing Exposure section noted for Plan B only
• Plan C: Remote Learning Only – Will be implemented only if state COVID-19 metrics worsen significantly enough to require suspension of in-person instruction and the implementation
of remote learning for all students, based on the remote learning plans required by Session Law 2020-3 The requirements listed in this guidance would not apply, as students and staff would not be gathering together in groups on school grounds.
School districts may choose to implement a more restrictive Plan but may not choose to implement a less restrictive Plan than established by NCDHHS, NCSBE, and NCDPI.
Governor’s Announcement on Reopening Schools - July 14, 2020
During today’s press conference, Governor Cooper announced that NC public schools will be reopening for the 2020-2021 school year under Plan B, which requires moderate social distancing and a combination of in-person and remote learning options. School districts may choose to operate under Plan C instead, which requires remote learning only. Districts are also encouraged to allow families to opt in to all-remote learning. Some requirements under Plan B include:
- Face coverings for all K-12 students, teachers, and staff (five reusable face coverings will be provided for each)
- Limited number of students, staff, and visitors in a school building to the extent of maintaining six feet distance
- Symptom screenings
- Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces
- No activities that bring together large groups
- Established process and dedicated space for people who are ill
Click here to access the Governor's press release on the reopening of public schools.