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Cooper Signs Bill Clearing The Way For NC Schools To Reopen At 50% Capacity

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employee delivers devices to help students learn from home.

Updated June 29

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill Monday that gives public schools the flexibility needed to operate schools on a hybrid remote and in-person schedule because of the coronavirus.

His signing comes two days before Cooper is expected to announce what kind of safety restrictions will be in place when schools reopen Aug. 17. State education officials have told schools to prepare for three reopening options: One with minimum restrictions, one with no students returning in person and one with schools and buses limited to 50% capacity.

Cooper will choose one based on COVID-19 trends. So far those numbers have been trending in the wrong direction, health officials say.

The 50% path would require alternative scheduling, such as some students coming to school while others learn from home.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials had warned that current law doesn’t count remote time toward required minimums, which would have blocked the hybrid schedules that would allow for greater social distancing.

Senate Bill 113 won approval from the Senate early Friday morning. Cooper announced Monday afternoon that he has signed it.

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.