RALEIGH – The N.C. House and Senate have resolved their differences on the bill to require in-person instruction options be offered to students in every district, finally approving the Senate Bill 37 Wednesday afternoon. The bill will now be sent to Governor Roy Cooper, who has voiced opposition to the bill despite his own rhetoric on the need to reopen schools.
So will he sign the bill? Or will he let these kids languish in the name of irrational hysteria and politics?
The legislation states the districts SHALL provide the option of in-person instruction to all K-12 students, starting 15 days after the bill is signed into law, through the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
It’s long overdue, as many schools have been effectively closed for nearly a year. Students have fallen so behind in many cases that special summer school legislation has been introduced to provide an opportunity to try to catch up.
Much of the damage, unfortunately, is done. The educational, emotional, and social toll on these kids, who bear the brunt of this policy disaster, after a year of Pandemic Panic is remarkable. And unacceptable.
So; what says Roy?
“Children should be back in the classroom safely, and I can sign this legislation if it adheres to DHHS health safety guidance for schools and protects the ability of state and local leaders to respond to emergencies. This bill currently falls short on both of these fronts.”
Translation: Cooper doesn’t want to relinquish the ability of state or local politicians and bureaucrats to unilaterally shutdown schools if a panic develops. Moreover, he isn’t willing to release the schools from overly restrictive, arbitrary, and unnecessary social distancing requirements that, as county superintendents have complained, are completely prohibitive of full reopening.
‘Unnecessary,’ because, as even Roy Cooper now admits, study, after study (after study) shows that schools are safe for children AND teachers. Not only are they safe; they are SAFER in school, than in the general population.
If the Cooper administration merely accepted this clear ‘science and data,’ as they’ve smugly implored us to all this while, they would not cling to the power to keep kids at home in the name of Pandemic Panic.
If Governor Roy Cooper vetoes the legislation, it is not clear if Republicans in the General Assembly can convert enough Democrat votes to override him (although the math is easier than last session, after 2020 Republican gains).
What will be clear, is that Cooper’s rhetoric on needing to get kids back in school is mere lip service, belied by his actions ensuring their plight continues in the name of delusion.