North Carolina Reopening Plan Background

  • From StrongSchoolsNC: Public Health Toolkit (K-12) • Interim Guidance • June 8, 2020

    In order to secure the safety and protection of children and their families across the state, Governor Cooper, in collaboration with the NC State Board of Education (NCSBE) and the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), closed public school buildings for in-person instruction through Executive Order No. 117 on March 14, and extended through the rest of the 2019-2020 school year via Executive Orders Nos. 120 and 138.

    On March 14, 2020, Governor Cooper established an Education and Nutrition Working Group to develop a plan to ensure that children and families were supported while schools were closed. Since then, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has worked closely with NCDPI and NCSBE to meet the nutritional, educational and child care needs of students during the school closure, and plan for safely reopening schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

    Who will decide how schools can reopen and stay healthy?

    The Governor's Office and NCDHHS, in consultation with NCSBE and NCDPI, will determine how schools can reopen safely for the 2020-2021 school year based on the state's COVID-19 metrics by July 1, 2020. On July 1, Governor Cooper announced a delay in announcing reopening plans for schools. He shared a decision would be made within the coming weeks.

    How should schools plan for different scenarios depending on COVID-19 spread and metrics?

    Local education leaders are directed to plan for reopening K-12 public schools under three potential scenarios, depending on what restrictions are necessary when school opens, or at any time in the school year, to control the spread of the disease.

    Schools are required to create the following three plans:


Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing

    • Implemented if state COVID-19 metrics stabilize or move in a positive direction.
    • Follows NCDHHS guidance (provides both required and recommended actions).

Plan B: Moderate Social Distancing

    • Implemented if COVID-19 metrics worsen and additional restrictions are needed.
    • Limits density of people in school facilities and transportation to maximum 50% occupancy.

Plan C: Remote Learning Only

    • Implemented if COVID-19 metrics worsen significantly enough to require suspension of in-person instruction.
    • Schools would be closed and there would be implementation of remote learning for all students.
  • School districts may choose to implement a more restrictive plan but may not choose to implement a less restrictive plan that established by NCDHHS, NCSBE, and NCDPI.