DAN FOREST: Our Schools Should Be Full of Students, Not Fear

RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper is proving resistant to releasing North Carolinians from the mandated Pandemic Panic, now equivocating about whether or not students will be able to return to school for the fall (or mid-summer for year round schedules). It’s an absurd delusion, after all we’ve learned in the past 10 weeks, to think COVID-19 risks outweigh the benefits of kids resuming education and returning to school.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, Cooper’s 2020 opponent for governor, is calling it for what is is, fear mongering. Forest released a statement Thursday asserting that school should be “full of students, not fear.”

“We need a plan that gets our students back to school. While I am thankful for the passionate and dedicated team of educators and health professionals who developed the plan laid out today by DHHS, DPI and the SBOE, it unfortunately does not set a clear path forward. The 120+ page set of guidelines, recommendations and requirements will cause more confusion for families after an already confusing year because the most basic question could not be answered by the Cooper Administration: ‘What are the metrics being used to determine how our schools will operate?’ 
“All the details have been hashed out, but the goals have not been determined. Our students, parents, educators, superintendents, and lawmakers deserve to know which metrics are being used to make the determinations of what the next schoolyear will look like. 
“Additionally, there should not be a one size fits all plan for our entire state: Mitchell County should not be treated in the same manner as Mecklenburg County. Our school districts and their local experts should have the ability to make decisions regarding the plan they adhere to. Instead, it seems as though the Cooper Administration can unilaterally close schools based on whatever metrics they are using, not science or data.
“Other states and countries who have reopened schools have not seen significant spread of the virus. Elected officials and the media need to start being honest with the public about who this virus impacts and stop the unending campaign of fear and panic for all North Carolinians. We must allow families the basic freedom and personal responsibility to decide what’s best for their children, accommodate students and staff who are at high risk, and allow students to learn and parents to work without anxiety and uncertainty.  Our schools should be full of students, not fear.”

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