Senate, With Strong GOP Support, Tentatively Votes To Reopen Schools To In-Person Learning | Eastern North Carolina Now

Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is Julie Havlak.

    The Senate has tentatively voted to reopen schools, despite pushback from Democrats to block full in-person learning for older students.

    Republicans passed Senate Bill 37 on its second reading, 29-16, to give K-12 students the option to return to the classroom at least part-time. Students with special needs could choose full-time in-person learning. The Senate next meets Monday, Feb. 8.

    Democratic lawmakers voted against giving older students the chance to return to full in-person instruction, repeating that they supported "safe" reopening under public health guidance.

    School reopening has dominated this legislative session. Hundreds of frustrated parents protested in front of the governor's mansion Monday. Gov. Roy Cooper announced his support for reopening a day later, urging schools to reopen but refusing to mandate reopening with an executive order or legislation.

    The N.C. Association of Educators still opposes the bill, saying teachers must be vaccinated as "one of the most critical steps in restarting in-person instruction."

    But remote learning is failing students.

    About 19% of students aren't regularly showing up for class, State Board of Education officials told lawmakers. In Alamance County, more than half of middle school students failed at least one class in the first quarter. Suicide idealization rates have skyrocketed. One in four 18-24-year-olds reported seriously considering suicide in June, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    "[State Health Department] Secretary Mandy Cohen has said recently that schools can reopen safely even during periods of high community transmission if they follow the safety protocols," said Sen. Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga. "There is a 13-year-old middle school student sitting in the gallery here today that is autistic and in desperate need of in-class instruction."

    While Republicans read letters from desperate parents and children, Democratic lawmakers repeated safety concerns and demands for more education funding. They introduced an amendment to axe full-time in-person learning as an option for middle and high school students.

    At issue is the distance between students and the COVID-19 transmission risk of older students. Democrats opposed allowing older students back into the classroom with minimal social distancing.

    "Reopening in this manner could create a very precarious situation," said Sen. Deandrea Salvador, D-Mecklenburg. "We need to take a measured approach that gets kids back into school, but does it safely. It must take into account the safety of our teachers and support staff."

    Republicans shot down the amendment, as well as other amendments to put another $177 million toward schools. They also decided against giving schools 30 days to reopen instead of 15 days.

    "Our children are not safe from other things outside of schools," said Sen. Amy Galey, R-Alamance. "Those are children who're at home with their abuser with no hope of anybody seeing their pain and suffering. We have a virus dashboard to look at that tells us what the virus is doing. ... The suicide statistics lag by two years. We won't know until 2022."
Go Back

HbAD0

Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during an interview over the that he and President Joe Biden were not responsible for the illegal alien crisis that has exploded as a direct result of Biden’s open border policies.
A new national poll shows roughly two-thirds support for key school choice concepts among American parents.
Venezuelan illegal alien had been arrested previously in NYC for harming child
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been sent back to the hospital, the Pentagon announced on Sunday, the latest wrinkle in a health controversy that began last month over the Cabinet official’s secretive hospitalization for complications following a procedure to treat prostate cancer.
The Democrat-led Senate pressed ahead on Sunday with a $95 billion foreign aid package that dropped a controversial border security and immigration reform deal that was originally included in it.
At an adults-only family meeting held behind closed doors, the parents of 7-year-old Tim Wilcott shared their concerns that "Little Timmy" had not yet graduated high school.
Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr suggested during a speech late last week that in a rematch between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, he’ll back his former boss.

HbAD1

In North Carolina, bars and restaurants interested in purchasing spirits must place an order through the ABC warehouse system.
The Islamic terrorist group Al Qaeda is reportedly rapidly growing in size inside of Afghanistan just a couple of years after President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from the country.
I am no football expert. I am only a fan. I learned the game as a cheerleader in the 1960s. I knew the “push ‘em back” and the “ hey, hey, let’s go” as well as anybody.
After a hard-fought but relatively low-scoring game, the Kansas City Chiefs came away with a 25-22 victory in Sunday’s Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.
In a landmark compromise between Democrats and Republicans, the Senate is set to vote on a new anti-murder bill that will limit the allowed murders to only 5,000 per day.
Bob Bauer, the personal lawyer for President Joe Biden, claimed during an interview over the weekend that Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report on Biden’s handling of classified material was a “shoddy” piece of work that contained numerous “misstatements of fact” from Hur’s interview
Korean Christians stand up to anti-Israel protestors at Harvard: ‘What’s happening here is not normal’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back at an ABC News journalist during an interview over the weekend after the journalist promoted Hamas terrorist propaganda.

HbAD2

 
Back to Top