On Saturday, March 14, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper ordered the closure of all NC schools for 2 weeks in an effort to stop the fast moving coronavirus and to protect students and staff.
This is a fast developing issue and this page will likely be updated hourly with new information relating to coronavirus and the NC schools.
Updates Since Publication
March 15 – A considerable issue is developing related to schools closing in the state, and it is one that several counties in North Carolina are already at work to find solutions for. There is a very significant amount of school-aged children in our state who depend on breakfast and lunch during the school day. I know here in Carteret County our administrators are having a meeting today at 3 pm to discuss how to get meals to children experiencing significant poverty.
Compounding this issue is the fact that many parents will have to find and pay for full-time sitter services while parents are at work during this shutdown, and this is further compounded by many families having to spend extra money on basic supplies for a possible extended time.
Please, if you know of a family in need, or of any children in the NC school system who are at risk of not eating during this difficult time, please reach out and help them. Please consider calling social services to see if the Stafford Act can provide temporary food assistance while it is in place.
Additionally, please use the comment form below to alert us to any needs in the community. We are especially interested in hearing about county school systems who are working with students and families while schools are closed.
I will write an update tomorrow as I learn more from the Carteret County School System on their plans to help get meals to students
March 14 – We are now learning that a teacher at Fuquay-Varina Elementary in Wake County NC has tested positive for COVID-19 and this likely changed everything for state officials as it relates to students and teachers. We are also learning that the confirmed cases in Craven and Brunswick counties are likely community acquired.
On a personal note, I am now a proponent of having online learning for K-12 schools like the colleges do. After the disasters of hurricanes Florence and Dorian, and now coronavirus, I think it is feasible to have at least a system lying dormant that can be brought online at times like this. There are very mature open source systems used worldwide by colleges. Prior to writing this article, I estimated the cost to NC citizens to be about $300 a month to maintain this system if an open source system was used.
Just last Thursday, Governor Cooper maintained that schools will stay open, but that significant guidelines will be in place to protect students and staff.
Locally, here in Carteret County, just yesterday school administrators issued almost a dozen restrictions and guidelines that will be in place so that schools can stay open.
And, while we have no confirmed information on why NC state officials changed their mind in 48 hours, we suspect it has to do with the literal explosion in the numbers of cases being reported since just last Thursday.
This rapid infection rate of coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) is likely to place more significance on this virus now being community acquired and not just limited to travel. And, in fact a significant number of new infections just in the past 24 hours are from people who have not traveled outside the country.
Of course, we have no official indication if health officials in North Carolina are ready to communicate that the virus is now community acquired, but early indications are that is what caused the NC Governor to release an emergency order to close all 100 county public schools.
Early last week, the UNC System, Duke University, and many private colleges closed all on-campus classes and decided to transition to online classes, but this was before the rapid spike in the number of infections.
Again, this document will be updated hourly with new information we receive from state government, the NC emergency management system, the NC Governor and task force associated with COVID-19, and local health departments.