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More Questions Than Answers Follow Gov. Cooper’s School Reopening Plan

North Carolina public schools will reopen in the fall, but with new safety requirements and mandatory remote-learning options.
North Carolina public schools will reopen in the fall, but with new safety requirements and mandatory remote-learning options.

North Carolina public schools will open this fall with a mix of in-person and remote-learning options, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday. 

Host Anita Rao talks with WUNC’s feature news editor Dave DeWitt about school reopening plans, teacher safety and parents’ concerns.

Individual school districts will create their own plans depending on the needs of students, staff and teachers. Schools must follow certain safety and health requirements for in-person gatherings, such as wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently and maintaining six feet of distance between people. Districts must also provide students and their families with the option of remote-only learning.

The governor said the reopening plan reflects a need to ensure safety during the pandemic, but it also recognizes the importance of a physical classroom space. “We know that schools provide so much more than just academic lessons,” he said. “They support our children's social, emotional and physical development.”

But how schools will plan curricula and meet the needs of at-risk teachers, students and staff remains to be seen. Host Anita Rao discusses the reopening plan for schools and the questions it raises with Dave Dewitt, WUNC’s feature news editor. 

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Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
Kaia Findlay is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show. Kaia grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a household filled with teachers and storytellers. In elementary school, she usually fell asleep listening to recordings of 1950s radio comedy programs. After a semester of writing for her high school newspaper, she decided she hated journalism. While pursuing her bachelor’s in environmental studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, she got talked back into it. Kaia received a master’s degree from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism, where she focused on reporting and science communication. She has published stories with Our State Magazine, Indy Week, and HuffPost. She most recently worked as the manager for a podcast on environmental sustainability and higher education. Her reporting passions include climate and the environment, health and science, food and women’s issues. When not working at WUNC, Kaia goes pebble-wrestling, takes long bike rides, and reads while hammocking.