King Cooper Extends Phase 2 Lockdown, Announces Plan Limiting Public Schools to 50% Capacity, Makes Kindergartners Wear Masks

RALEIGH – Parents around the state have been waiting for weeks to find out if and how their kids will return to school in the fall amid the Pandemic Panic. Governor Roy Cooper broke the suspense Tuesday in announcing he was selecting ‘Plan B’ for school reopenings, prescribing a mixture of in-school instruction and virtual distance learning while limiting school capacity to 50 percent. The plan requires even kindergartners to wear masks.

The in-between measure didn’t quite satisfy the fear mongers, but it certainly frustrates working parents that, aside from the logistical nightmare, know that ‘virtual learning’ is no panacea.

Cooper also extended Phase 2 of lockdown for the state, which keeps bars, gyms, and other businesses closed, while limiting capacity and mass gatherings everywhere else. The mask mandate was reaffirmed as well.

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It all amounts to Governor Cooper extending his unilateral rule over North Carolina, suspending individual rights for select groups in the name of the intangible and ever present ‘common good.’

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N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) released a statement shortly after the governor’s announcement, asking question many are wrestling with as the executive branch continues its attempt micromanage our lives.

“Gov. Cooper’s plan gets students halfway to where they need to be. But much like jumping over a creek, halfway doesn’t cut it.

The Governor’s plan makes worse the very inequities a public school system is supposed to resolve. Students whose parents do not have the time or resources to supplement ‘virtual’ schooling will fall even further behind simply because of the condition of their birth. That’s an unspeakable travesty.

And parents who do not have the privilege of working from home can’t take off every other day from work. What are they supposed to do?

The Governor permits parents to choose full remote learning — he must also permit parents to choose full in-person learning as well.

I also have serious questions about the requirement for masks on five-year-olds, which contradicts the Cooper Administration’s own guidance for child care centers. What happens when a kindergartner removes a mask? Does the Governor really expect teachers to have any chance of enforcing this mandate?”

If private schools weren’t being inundated before, they’re certainly facing a stampede of desperate parents after Cooper’s decree.

All of this happens as there is literally no scientific basis for viewing in-person school instruction, children, and even teachers as at any elevated risk from the coronavirus. Indeed, the risk to children from this virus is significantly less than that of the seasonal flu, and all indications are that children are not transmitters of the pathogen.

No matter; the false sense of sanctimony and fomented fear is enough to embolden Cooper and the ‘Keep It Closed’ crowd. Speaker of the N.C. House had this to say in response to the governor’s announcement Tuesday:

“Instead of taking a local approach to economic closures and prioritizing North Carolina’s vulnerable populations, this administration has inconsistently shuttered thousands of small businesses statewide and failed to implement a comprehensive plan to protect nursing homes.
Today’s announcement that classrooms will remain closed to students either periodically or completely exacerbates the administration’s economic and public health failures while adding even more uncertainty for struggling families in North Carolina.
Returning students to the classroom should be our top priority, but instead North Carolinians are experiencing the devastating impacts of Governor Cooper’s one-size-fits-all economic closures and policies that hinder broad recovery without protecting the vulnerable.
I urge the Governor to present a workable, comprehensive plan for our schools, our economy, and vulnerable senior citizens, that recognizes the failures of his current scattershot approach and provides real opportunities for our state to move forward.”
While school districts have the ‘freedom’ to adjust their approach, as long as they maintain the standard set out in Plan B, there is no doubt that the scramble to implement the measures will be an absolute mess at most schools.
Making a five year old wear a mask all day, with all we know about this virus, is patently ridiculous. So much of it is ridiculous, but, to his credit, Cooper did not give in completely to the Chicken Littles in the teachers’ lobby. Some Democrats are asserting that the acceptable level of student or teacher deaths from the coronavirus is zero, which sounds quite agreeable. Yet, that’s hardly the ‘acceptable level’ of flu deaths among students and teachers. If we approached the flu the same way, we’d close schools every single year from November to April.
Recent experience cautions one against thinking that such over the top proposals are out of bounds.
And we’ve barely mentioned the fact that Cooper has extended Phase 2 to August 7, in which Cooper ensures the failure of scores of small-businesses like gyms and bars across the state.
In short, King Cooper reigns. All hail King Cooper.

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