North Carolina superintendent on schools to reopen with restrictions amid pandemic
Matthew Cheeseman, superintendent of Beaufort County Schools in North Carolina, tells ‘America’s Newsroom’ the state will mix-in person and remote learning to ensure students safety.
North Carolina schools are "going to do the best [they] can" to reopen come fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, Beaufort County Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman assured Thursday.
In an interview on "America's Newsroom," Cheeseman told host John Roberts while they would "love" to have students five days a week, under current conditions, it's going to be "really difficult to do."
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"So, any face-to-face instruction that we can possibly muster at this moment, we think it’s going to be best for our students," he said.
In this Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 photo, math is taught to high school students during a class at the Karnes County Residential Center, a temporary home for immigrant women and children detained at the border, in Karnes City, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
The state's Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that its 1.5 million public school students would return to school in August under stringent health restrictions where many children would only attend in-person classes every other day or every other week.
K-12 public schools would reopen under a “moderate social distancing” plan that also limits how many people can be on campuses. Daily temperature and health screening checks would be required and face coverings would be mandated for all school employees and students.
“We know that school will look a lot different this year,” Cooper told reporters on Tuesday. “They have to in order to be safe and effective. The public health experts and the school leaders developed these safety rules to protect our students and teachers and their families.”
On Thursday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported the second-highest single-day increase in cases thus far, with 2,160. According to state officials, 1,134 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 and there have been 20 more deaths, bringing the total to 1,588.
Cheeseman pointed out that his job is to make sure that people are safe in their environment — both teachers, staff, and students — and work with health care officials to do so.
"I can't tell you just how proud I am [of] how [teachers] handled the spring sudden shut down on March 14th all the way to the end of the school year," he noted. "And, we had a lot of learning during that time — just as adults and educators — in terms of how best to meet the needs of our children."
Cheeseman said that Beaufort County teachers are going to be ready for their kids "in any capacity," whether it's "face-to-face or remote."
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"But we’re going to do the best we can to make sure that our adult employees are ready for our student learners," he added. "So, what we are hoping is that there is a lot of training, a lot of capacity, and we are just going to do the best that we can with these opportunities and still provide [the] opportunity for face-to-face instruction."
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