Politicians, concerned parents push for schools to reopen :: WRAL.com | #politics | #trump


right? Yeah. Right. Yeah. Yes. When giving you a lot of time out? Yeah. Okay. That’s it. Good morning. I appreciate you all being here and also appreciate the folks that are behind me for being here today. I will introduce some of the people that are on the on the stage here. And there’s some that, uh, I’ll introduce those that will be speaking. We’re joined this morning by Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest. Uh, we’re also joined by Catherine Truitt. Andi by Tara Dean. Miss Dean is, uh, parent of a child with special needs. Uh, also joined by Tracy Taylor. Miss Taylor has two Children learning from home at the present time. Also joined by Michelle Morrow. Miss Morrow is a nurse, uh, for 27 years, the mother of five. It’s not a misprint. I dont think another five on. We’re also joined by Sandy Joyner. And Sandy has a son who is a senior in high school. Uh, each of the folks that I’ve introduced Will will make some remarks. Uh, I will begin with remarks. After all the remarks that concluded, we will be more than happy. Thio, take your questions. Um you know the majority of students now are several weeks into what has come to be known as virtual learning. Uh, strikes me that it’s all virtual on very little learning. But let’s say what all parents already know, and that is that it is not working. Not for the kids. For far too many students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds already at a risk of being left behind Onda students with exceptional needs Virtual learning is a slow motion train wreck. And it’s a slow motion train wreck from which Harvard public health experts are telling us that some Children will never recover. Virtual schedules in reality include, at best, a few hours of actual instruction time, with lengthy gaps woven throughout the day. Do we really expect a kindergartner to apply reading concepts that that kindergartner sees on a buffering computer screen? How are single parents even getting by Now? Here’s how one mother described her experience to Senator Vicky Sawyer last week. This is a quote from a letter I have failed. As a parent, I have failed. As an educator, I have failed as a proctor. I have failed as a P e teacher, art teacher, music teacher, librarian, lunch lady, janitor and mom. I need you to understand my Children are suffering. Our family is suffering. The O. E. C. D. A renowned international organization comprising 37 members member countries, uh, put out a report this month on the effect of school closures. Here are five things that they said one for a significant portion of students learning during school closures is almost non existent to learning, reductions or greatest for disadvantaged Children. And the deficit compounds as time goes on, because students must build on concepts they learn. Three students who schooling has been interrupted face long term economic losses and deficits in socio emotional development. Four. For every for every one third of the school year lost, current students will suffer a 3% loss of income across their entire career. And five the bottom line from the study. Current students will be significantly harmed, and the harm will disproportionately fall on disadvantaged students. No reasonable person observing what’s going on would say the state of North Carolina is meeting its constitutional duty to provide these kids with a sound basic education. Governor Cooper created this problem, and he needs to fix it. He needs to direct school district’s to give parents the option of full time five day a week in person instruction. Now the governor has allowed his allies in the N. C. Itoh override the best interest of Children the state is required to educate. When it comes to opening playgrounds, The governor argued that counties couldn’t make a determination for themselves. Yet on the critically important and politically charged issue of education, the governor is all too quick to abandon responsibility and pass off to look blame toe local School District’s. There is no greater form of local control than a parent deciding what’s best for a child, and the governor needs to stand up and give parents that choice. Teachers air exhausted Parents are at their wits end. Children are not learning. Governor Cooper’s school closure isn’t working. It’s not working for parents. It’s not working for educators, and it’s certainly not working for Children. There’s a better plan. Let parents choose all virtual learning if they want. Maybe there are grand parents or people with preexisting conditions in the home, or maybe their child has a condition that puts that child at a higher risk for complications. Those parents should have the choice of keeping their kids on an all virtual program. But the governor must also let parents choose full time five day a week in person instruction. I’m thinking of a single parent who works retail or in a factory. That parent can’t give up the hours necessary to help with home learning. Many can’t afford the cruel offer from some school district to allow students to spend the day Get this inside the public school building for $140 a week. Or maybe it’s parents to see their son or daughter suffering from depression, anxiety or difficulty learning in isolation. Parents know what’s best for their Children. In other states and countries, Children are going to school with no major public health consequences. When the director of the CDC says he cannot emphasize enough the public health importance of getting students back to school, we should listen. Remember, science is important when Harvard public health experts say preventing in person instruction will be an educational disaster that some Children may never recover from. We should listen right here in North Carolina. Charter schools and private schools like Feliz Academy have shown that full time in person instruction is doable. The Mount Airy City School district has essentially adopted this plan. 75% of their students are going to class every day for in person instruction, while 25% have chosen virtual learning. They’ve been inundated with transfer request from neighboring districts and even from the state of North Carolina. I’m sorry from the state of Virginia, they’ve had no co vid outbreaks. Even so, I’m not under any illusion that there will be never be a covert case in a school building. They leaves. Academy actually presents the best case study for what to do. When that happens, they shut down class for a short period of time, thoroughly cleaned the building and did contact tracing and got kids back into the classroom. This is possible. It’s logistically challenging. But I do not accept that we should abandon a child’s education just because the situation is challenging. That’s reasonable. That’s better than the current program. We intend to mobilize as much support as possible in every part of the state over the coming weeks to pressure the governor to change course. The status quo is failing. Students on they’ll introduce lieutenant governor Dan Forest, Lieutenant Governor. Well, thank you, Senator. And I will be brief. That lays out the challenge in front of us. And I think it lays out the plan in front of us as well. From the very beginning, the Plan ABC concept laid out by the governor and Health and Human Services in North Carolina was failed plan. When I sat before the state Board of Education, ask a very simple question the day it was being being rolled out. This is the question. It was What is the plan? What is the goal? What are you trying to achieve and how are we going to know when we’ve actually achieved? And after about 15 seconds of silence on the zoom call, DHHS said, Well, we’re gonna follow science and data. I didn’t vote for that plan. Then I said, This is a failed plan. It won’t work. Our Children need to be in the classroom. They must be in the classroom. Scientists from around the world and child experts from around the world, including many here in the United States, have said that our kids need to be in the classroom. So there has been no goal there has been no plan. This has been pushed off to the local authorities with no option but to do what they’re doing. It’s time to open the classrooms back up. It’s time to allow parents to decide whether their kids should be in the classroom. Give them an option. As a senator said, That’s 0.1 point two Is that our school system across North Carolina? Our public school system is not set up for virtual learning. It is just not set up for virtual learning. We just got to the place a year ago where we were set up for digital learning in the classroom where every single classroom was connected to high speed broadband so that our teachers could teach effectively and they’d have the tools available to teach effectively in the classroom and they’d have broadband. They’d have computers in the hands of the students, and then they’d have content and curriculum to be able to teach in the classroom. But that’s in the classroom. To be able to do that from home is just not possible. For thousands of families across North Carolina, there are thousands of families that do not have appropriate broadband access in their homes. There are thousands and thousands of students that are being left behind. And come January 1 of next year, you’re gonna have students that have missed nearly an entire year of school nearly an entire year. If you’re a third grade student in North Carolina, all the studies show that that third grade reading assessment your ability to read by the end of the third grade is absolutely critical to your future in education. Are you gonna make it? Are you not gonna make it? Those students, if they can’t read by the end of the third grade, they’re gonna be playing catch up for the rest of our lives, and some of them won’t catch up. And so we have the ability to open our schools. And there are kids all over this country right here in the state of North Carolina that are going to school, going to the classroom every single day. There is no solid science or data anywhere that suggests that our kids should not be in the classroom right now again, the health experts suggested. So it brings me to my third point health and safety of our kids. We talk about the co vid pandemic as a health crisis. But we don’t talk about the other health crisis that’s going on all over America. The media should be asking the governor. What about the other health crisis that’s happening in North Carolina? What about the anxiety and depression of these students that the parents, thousands of parents have called us and said they’re kid is spiraling into depression by being stuck inside? How come nobody is asking the governor, Mandy Cohen, about those kids or about the addiction the way we see addiction’s going up all across our state, whether it’s alcohol or drugs, screen time addiction, pornography, addiction, these things were happening in real time. What about domestic abuse and child abuse in the home? Those claims have actually gone down 50% since coronavirus started. Why? Because the people that pay closest attention to these students that air in front of them every day are their teachers and their school administrators and their school nurses who understand their stories and can ask the right questions and get them the help that they need. In many cases in North Carolina right now, we have locked Children as victims into homes with abusers, and there’s no way out for them. So there are many reasons to move forward with opening the schools and needs to happen now. Not not January 1, not after Election Day. It needs to happen now so that we can help our kids. Thank you. Would would ask that Katherine. True it. Now come forward. Thank you, Senator Burger. I’m Katherine. True it. And I am a candidate for superintendent of public instruction. First, I would like to thank all of the superintendents, local school boards, principals and teachers who have been working tirelessly to work within the confines of the plans that were presented to them in order to ensure that they could try and meet the needs of their students as best they could. This is not an ideal situation, and for these people, this has been a no win situation. As an educator and a parent, I know that went possible Students belong with their teacher in a classroom. Our goal must be for students to return to full in classroom as soon as local school leaders believe that it could be accomplished safely. Sadly, right now, this is not even an option on the table. Parents and teachers both had concerns as we began the school year remotely and since this time our concerns have worsened as students and teachers struggle and technology failures waste hours of time and cove. It has shown us that schools offers so much more than just education. Children with special needs, Children without enough to eat Children with unstable home lives there now even more marginalized. As the lieutenant governor stated, child welfare agencies now report that since March, the number of child abuse reports filed have decreased by half because teachers and doctors are the ones who usually file these reports. At the same time, we have early reports showing increase in anxiety and depression among students, drug and alcohol use and teen pregnancy rates across our state. We do have some Children who are able to attend school part time, but some are not, depending on the district they live in, and whether or not their district could comply with Plan B or Plan C. We cannot continue to allow a one size fits none plan to dictate who gets to be in school and who doesn’t. We should be advocating for all students to return to the classroom to be with their teachers as soon as local leaders can make it safe to do so. Because now, more than ever, this is a time for equity. Students who live in poverty are feeling the brunt of challenges associated with remote learning things like lack of high speed Internet access. No parent at home to assist with remote learning and school. Lack of resource is to pay for tutoring, making it almost impossible for even part time remote learning toe work for most students, Let me be clear. This is not about choosing between health and the economy. This is about recognizing that when classrooms stay closed, we are upholding one form of safety over another, not getting the virus or not getting the services needed that prevent child abuse, neglect mental health issues as well as falling behind academically, such that a child may never catch up. 65% of eighth graders were below grade, level in math and reading before co vid. Where are those students now? They’re further behind than ever before. This kind of inequity cannot continue. Every education policy in the state should be built around fulfilling our constitutional obligation and moral imperative to ensure all students receive equality. Education. The way we have reopened schools falls well short of that standard. There are too many students being left behind our state. And most importantly, our students cannot afford for this to be a lost year of learning. Thank you. And they’ll ask for Miss Terra Dean to come forward. I think for those that want to keep their Children home, I respect that. We all have different situations, but I want a voice and a choice for my Children. I am sick of them being used as pawns in a political game. My name is Tara Dean and I have four Children in the North Carolina public school system. Although they are all suffering today. I’m here to focus on my two youngest, who were adopted from China with multiple special needs. They have albinism autism, cognitive impairments, visual impairments and our nonverbal this thing. I’m sorry I promised when I adopted them to give them the best life possible. This includes access to every available resource that could help to improve the quality of their lives. However, I have not even been able to give them a basic education or desperately needed therapies. In the last several months, special needs Children have been completely abandoned by the district’s. My girls went from a critical routine and schedule of a full day of school in a self contained special ed class with multiple therapies. Thes included speech, occupational physical vision and orientation and mobility to a day of total isolation with no in person interventions, Thea effects have been devastating and lead to complete regression. Remote learning was never and will never be an option for them. I can teach a child how to add subtract, but how do I teach a child to speak, interact or use their best vision? Virtual learning cannot be accomplished when your child can’t verbalize and won’t look at the screen, whether it be due to vision issues, lack of eye contact, lack of attention span or many other challenges faced by Children with autism, a D, H, D visual and cognitive impairments. Aside from missing educational and daily living skills, there also no longer getting any socialization or peer interaction thes air, not Children. I can just bring to places like parks, pools or play areas they do not have friends or play dates. They’re not welcome at daycares or camps. They’re completely isolated. Although very personal, I feel I need to share a step further. For many to truly understand, one of my daughters has become very agitated regarding online learning until therapy sessions. She has now started self mutilation by digging her nails deep into her arms and scratching over and over until she draws blood. Sadly, after many years of objecting to it, we caved and had to put her on medication. We have stopped most live sessions and are attempting just her daily work in some tele therapy. Neither are conducive. I do not blame any of this on the teachers there, truly, in a no win situation, I am disrupting all of our lives for absolutely no reason, except for the county to check off a box that my Children attended school, and I’m not going to continue to do it. I need to get back to work. I will not have seven hours a day to dedicate as a one on one teacher to two Children. I would rather use the money I earn to pay for private services that actually benefit them. Cove it isn’t killing my Children right now, but they are dying inside from a lack of schedule socialization education and due to total isolation, I am begging you to put these vulnerable Children and others at the forefront of the discussions and decision making and allow schools to reopen today before any further damage is done. Thank you, Tracy Taylor. Good morning. My name is Tracy Taylor, and I’m speaking to you as a parent of two high school students as well as a health care provider. And as Terra just said, I can tell you from personal experience that I have seen, especially the special needs population who have been ignored in this pandemic. But the fact of the matter is also that all students were being ignored. Um, just some real quick data, because I’m a very data driven person and I’ve been recording on it since Min. June three. Incidents in North Carolina for the last 14 days is 5.495%. Three active cases as of yesterday were 16,000 and change. That’s the lowest it’s been since mid June. 13% of the cases are in the adult population, 65 older, and that’s the group that has 80% of the deaths. Several of the school district’s in North Carolina, as well as across the Southeast, are seeking medical advice from a Duke group. They spoke at the Wake County Public Schools Board of Education meeting yesterday. UM, three of them specifically said, um, some things that I thought were very important to touch on this morning, Dr Benjamin said. How the tests are administered cova tests and who takes them drives the metric over. Reliance on metrics could be fraught with peril. Younger Children are less likely to spread this virus than older Children, which is very different than influenza. There will be co vid cases, regardless of whether schools reopen or not. It’s been safer in some district’s that reopened that had good plans and as um, Lieutenant Governor Forest talked about as well as Senator Burger and Kathy True, it’s because there has been a lack of reporting of what’s been going on with the abuse and neglect and all of that. So he also said that their mental health, stressors and effects that are far worse than the physical effects of covert itself, this virus will be around for the long haul, and a vaccine will have supply chain issues. His point was that we need to get the kids back in school and we can’t wait on a vaccine, and we can’t wait for the metrics to drop. Dr. Theresa Flynn said Many students aren’t doing well. Online instruction instruction has taken away some supports for students to become successful. Many students are extremely stressed out. Self motivation is difficult for some Children. This is taking on through physical manifestations again, his terror pointed out. Um, she also described that many, many students air having headaches and just, you know, all sorts of physical problems. She said that she also sees a lot of frustration. She’s also seen and has patients who have, uh, attempted suicide from the stress and the isolation of not being in school. Dr. Theresa Calman reflected on obesity, difficulty with sleeping and attention difficulties, all which have risen since Children have been out of school. She also mentioned that students who have i E. P s and five of force she’s actually either seeing stagnation or regression. I can tell you that as a physical therapist, Thio pediatric patients, I have seen. This is well, these students are not being served. My personal thoughts are that the academic effects are taking a toll on all students. It doesn’t matter whether you’re under the bell curve to the left or to the right. All of the students are having way too much screen time. I think it’s interesting how, when we go to our pediatrician’s for well checks, one of the questions they ask is, How much screen time is your child getting? I am very honest, and I tell them too much. That was before Covic. Um, my other concern is that there’s a lot of technical issues. Students do not have access Thio to the things that they need to do in order to learn. Um, the other issue that I that I want to touch on is that students probably are not getting the same academic foundation that they would normally if they were in school. And if we have a shrinking foundation, that’s not good for students. That’s not good for our communities. That’s not good for our counties. That’s not good for our state and the economy, right? Our kids really are our future. All of them. Um, the other thing I just wanted to touch on really quickly is, um, that socially, there are, ah, lack of connections for the new students and new schools. And what I mean by that is new people who move in the area. Kids who are going into kindergarten kids who are entering middle school kids are entering high school with the way that our plans are set up in terms of the schools in Wake County, students get shifted all around all the time. They’re not able to make the connections that they need to make socially. Um, And so because of the lack of connections for all of these students, um, they’re not able to form relationships that they so desperately need at this time. Thank you. Shell Morrow here. Hi, I’m Michelle Morrow, and I wanna thank Senator, Burger and Lieutenant Governor forests for giving us an opportunity to speak about our concerns and to demand that we have in school instruction as an option for every parent and every child here in North Carolina. As a nurse of 27 years and a mother of five, I can assure you that we can send our Children to school safely Since March 15th, the goal of our lock down and subsequent school closures was understandably to protect our Children and our school staff from infection. Since that time, thankfully, we have learned that this illness rarely impacts individuals under the age of 20 and has been shown to actually be detrimental to those above 65 who have preexisting health conditions with Frank, which frankly put them at all times at higher risk of dying from anything. Since the science now shows that the mortality rate for this disease is comparable to that of flu and the youngest among us seem dramatically less impacted or even possible to spread this disease, we have to open our schools for in school instruction. The decisions that have been made over the last four months, specifically considering concerning what facilities can and cannot function, are not only illogical, they’re also inconsistent. One example of this is that preschools and daycares for months have been open to serve the needs of working parents. Yet the Children in these facilities are rarely toilet trained, explore their world by putting things into their mouths, and are in the same rooms together to play, eat and sleep for hours a day. Why is it that the workers in these facilities have been expected to care for These are most dependent and youngest members of our community. Yet the teachers of elementary age Children have been told to stay home and have they have claimed that it’s just too dangerous for them. Toe enter the school room. What about the use of our schools as day cares for teachers, or even for parents who cannot stay at home for their students and tow watch them and to be with them to teach them? Well, I have this question. Are we expected to believe that the Children of teachers are less capable of spreading the disease to the other teachers that air using their classrooms for in in, um uh for online instruction than other Children in the community that once again is illogical and it’s inconsistent. While I do understand and appreciate that there are teachers and school staff and parents at home who may be immuno compromised and are at greater risk of suffering complications from Cove it we must acknowledge that never before in the history of our nation have we closed down entire classrooms for a teacher who is ill. Usually when a teacher is ill, we find a substitute right in order to be able to teach the Children. Why is it that now we’re allowing 20 plus families to be impacted by one teacher who does not feel safe in going into the classroom? It’s time for us to give teachers as well as our families and option if that teacher does not feel safe and has a a medical condition that does not allow them to be into the classroom than what we should be doing is allowing them to be doing the in line the online instruction from their home. And they should be connected with the Children who cannot come to school. And all of the teachers and all of the school staff that do not have those medically compromised systems should be able to be the ones that are leading our in class instruction. Usually there are solutions to the issues, but sadly, for the last six months we have not heard any solutions. And as Lieutenant Governor Forest pointed out, since the beginning of time, there has not been any answers, and every time We have seen a presser with Governor Cooper, and he’s been asked a direct question. He has pushed it off to somebody else with either within the Health and Human Services or somebody that’s a part of a school board or something that’s part of the athletic association. There doesn’t seem to be any hope. And I want to say, as a nurse, there is hope. There is hope, because we now see that this is not as deadly as we thought that it was going to be. We should be rejoicing over that fact. We should look at the Children that have been in the preschools, the ones that are carrying disease like nobody else, and they have not infected their teachers and their leaders, and we should rejoice in that fact. And the other point that I wanna I wanna mention is school teachers, especially those that deal with elementary age kids who I think are at the highest risk in this category because they cannot be home by themselves. And if you look at childhood development issues, most Children only have the attention span of their age, so to expect them to sit in front of a screen that does not have interaction that doesn’t allow them to be getting up does not allow them to be learning in different ways that that is impacting them, and those are the ones that are at higher risk. And I say, if you are a school teacher, if you have been a schoolteacher for years, you have the immune system of steel because just like health care workers, you are around Children all day long who aren’t the best covering their mouth or their nose when they see their cough. They’re not good at washing their hands after they go to the bathroom. They’re putting things in their mouth. They’re touching things from one another. And so for us to have teachers believe that they’re the ones that they’re really at high risk. If you’ve been in a school system, you have a great immune system, and this is the one other thing I wanted to mention is never before in the history of our country has the goal then to never, ever catch an illness. The goal is to have a strong enough immune system to fight off disease, and since this inception there has been no discussion about treatment. There has been no discussion about prevention, and we have been limited as to how we can improve the health. Look at how long the gyms have been closed. There is proof that gyms and working out helps your immune system strengthens your immune system on DSO In closing, I am hopeful. I’m hopeful that this crisis is actually going to make us recognize the need for our education, not just to be about putting information into the mind of a person and having them spew it back out. Education is so much more. The goal of our educational system should be to produce mature, well rounded, critically thinking, financially independent, responsible, law abiding people who can handle stress can handle um, conflict. And when they get out at 18 years old, they should have an option for being financially independent individuals who have a goal. The goal is not just to get something out on the test and to be able toe put us on. Ah, high level for how people are testing. Education is so much more and we deserve. Our Children deserve to be put first, and that is my suggestion. Thanks very much, right can’t and miss Sandy Joiner saying Thank you for the opportunity to speak. Today I have three sons, and, um, I’m a parent of a senior in the Wake County public schools. I could tell you, as so many other parents can tell you, that remote learning has been detrimental to the well being of our kids. Yes, they can attend virtual classes, complete assignments and projects and even take tests. But school is so much more than that for seniors. Their social fabric is at its peak. They’re naturally a social bunch, and this is their last year with many of their friends. The isolation that they’re experiencing is wearing them down mentally and physically, and I worry for their stability. And long term harm in school is causing, Um, of course, we must take precautions with this virus. There are ways to provide safeguards and mitigate the risks, as everybody has talked about appeared this morning. School systems around the country are making it work. Way would be. We should be able to do this in North Carolina. I implore our leaders to find a way my son asked me every week, Mom, when can I go back to school. He just He’s ready to go. My senior, we need our Children in school. Thank you. Will now take questions. I believe there’s a microphone over here. Uh, if you would If you have a question, if you would let us know what, uh what news organization You’re from on. Then who you would like to direct your question to? Hi. Yes. Dressing. You said from January 1st, regardless of what’s going on, what exactly is? You see, This is what I said Michael was We can’t wait until January 1st for our kids to be back in school. That needs to happen now. Parents need to have that choice right now. That is the plan. The plan is open. The schools, we know it could be done safely. It’s being done all over the world. Uh, North Carolina is the exception. We’re not. The rule were the exception of what’s going on the rest of the country and around the world. So you really don’t need a plan you can follow. People that are doing this all over the world have done it safely, and these schools can find ways to open safely and get the kids back in the classroom. So to be clear, what you’re saying, just one in the schools. Okay, okay. Nobody on this stage has said that everybody that has everybody that has spoken has said these schools know how to open safely. They can follow the lead of other schools all over the world and do that. They could make it safe for their administrators. They could make it safe for their teachers, and they could make it safe for their students. And most importantly, they can allow the parents to decide what’s best for their kids. And if they don’t want him in school, they can keep him home. That’s that’s perfectly reasonable thing to do. And parents have that choice now. They always have that choice. Excuse me? I don’t think so. No, I don’t think that there’s any science that backs that up. That’s my personal opinion. I’m not speaking for anybody on this stage right now, But no, I don’t think so. But if that is what the parent determines is best for their student, if that’s what the school determines right now, get the kids back in the classroom. That’s that’s priority number one by us you and I have had this conversation before, I’m not going to get into the mass debate here or try to litigate it before you. There is evidence all over the world from studies that have been done for decades now that are contrary to that. Science is not a one size fits all, either. You have no true science without skepticism. All science is based on skepticism, and you need to have skeptics. But what’s happened through out this entire virus? If anybody’s ever skeptical of anything that goes on that doesn’t meet the narrative of the left right now, then they are shut down and said, This is fake science or these aren’t real doctors. And there are doctors that have called us by the hundreds to say they can’t speak their voice right now. They’re not allowed to talk. That is foolishness. In the world of science, science has always been founded upon skepticism. So we should get all the scientists together, and we should lay out all the science on the table, and people should have a real discussion about that. I’m not a scientist or a doctor. I just try to do my best filter through it just like everybody else does. But again, I’m not speaking for anybody on this stage. I’m just trying to get our kids back in the classroom where they belong. How you getting back in there right now? Should be up. Thio the parents to decide that, you know, Let’s see our Our governor didn’t lay out any standards. He laid out a Plan A, B and C, and he threw it down to the county’s toe. Do their thing. There was no plan. There was no plan for going back so that all of those plans, other than a or not workable, I said that from the beginning, kids need to be in the classroom. Period. Mm, you We’re saying the past. You lawmakers think no has enough. So he said he wouldn’t put words in my mouth. I don’t wanna put words in his mouth. I think the question about masks, the question about sanitizing the question about how many people are in the classroom, those air decisions that need to be made and those are decisions that can be made by parents. They can look at what the local system puts forward as we’re gonna reopen and this is how we’re gonna do it and they can decide whether or not they want their kids to go. Some of the systems may decide that kids in kindergarten don’t need to wear mask. Uh, some may decide that they should wear mask. I think that’s that’s a decision. Those kinds of decisions need to be made at the local level. What we’re saying today is Governor Cooper needs to reopen the schools now and then. The specific plan for each school for each district needs to be set within those districts, but they need to reopen now. You really can’t do this. They are so with reference to the amount of money. Um, just about every district has seen a substantial reduction in the number of students that have signed up for the virtual classes. Uh, they were given, uh, in the latest covert bill, a specific authorization and appropriation that there appropriations will not go down from last year. So they’re gonna get mawr money than they’re going toe have on a per pupil. But for the students that they’re going to have, in addition to that over the over the course of the last several months. Uh, this general Assembly is appropriated $840 million the local school systems to deal with issues having to do with cove it and having to do with closure. Uh, we will be back in in session in January, halfway through the school year. If there are needs at that point, we will listen to what those needs are. Uh it just strikes me that this question of we don’t have enough money is just an excuse at this point. And what we need is action, not excuses. And on this, your role. Well, I’ve made my voice heard at every school board meeting related to that. Especially when the Plan a B. C it was laid out. I was very clear that these plans are gonna work. They’re not gonna work for our poorer students. They’re not gonna work for our special needs students. This was very clear. There was no ambiguity in my statements back then. This would not work, and it would be a failure for those students and for those families. So my statement is still the same. It stood true. The state Board of Education needs to stand up, and they need do the same thing. They need to work with the governor’s well toe, get a plan together to open our schools, back up, allow those parents toe, then make the decision whether their kids should be in the classroom once that plan’s late forward. And that includes you. Well, now you know you specifics of plans. Yeah, even well, my my specific would be open the schools. The schools should be operating. Kids should be in the classroom 100%. And if a parent chooses otherwise, that’s the exception. Is the parent choosing not to place their kids in school? But other than that, a za governor I would open schools. That would be the plan. There’s no more Plan A, B and C. The school schools can determine how they do that safely. Just a senator, Berger said, Just as everybody else up here said they could determine that. But the schools will be open, just like they are already. For many private schools around our state that have been open since Day one, and many schools around the country and around the world, same way, it’s it’s not. It’s not a difficult equation. We’re making it really difficult here in North Carolina, but it’s just not that hard. Perfect. Do you think the state should the state now? I don’t think so. Open the schools first. Yes, education. The meaning. Airlines to Reopen Schools Related First Album There’s also been rumors only used, considering the real action is yes, which is the Supreme State. How do you feel about these parents having assumed to have their educational rights of health here? A. ZAY said a few moments ago. What we need is action, not excuses. I think those lawsuits represent a failure of leadership on the part of the, uh, the executive branch in North Carolina. Governor Cooper and the State Board of Education. First, since you are on the board of this is yeah, work has sort dictating to the rest of the district. This is the plan scorekeeper. Better work indeed. Want Thio? Which majority of just the person that means shouldn’t see a part of it? How wrong, what the district’s do or should There mawr decision making at the district level. Hi there, my well again, I’m a plan a fan. Open the schools. From my perspective, I’m not speaking for everybody on this stage, but from my perspective, the plan is to open the schools. I think it’s very ironic here that we’re all sitting here. We’ll stay here is long as we need to stay here to answer all the questions that you guys ask us about opening schools. But I haven’t heard any of these questions asked to the governor of the person that actually created the plan, ABC. None of these quick. You guys haven’t asked one of these questions the governor, primarily because he doesn’t have a press conference and doesn’t allow you to ask him, Uh, but that’s part of the problem as well that I’m sure you would love to ask those questions if you had the chance. But you know this. This is his plan. He laid it forward. The state board accepted his plan and then pass the buck onto the local district, who were then all forced basically to put pick Plan C because nobody wanted to be the odd duck out in this case. But we can look, we have examples again. I’ll say it again for the fifth time. We have examples all over the world. We have examples all around the country, and we have examples right here in North Carolina where schools are open safely and kids were going to school safely. There’s been no massive outbreaks here in North Carolina, and if there’s been a case discovered school shuts down, cleans the school and kids go back to back to school again. Let’s do that. That plan works. Let’s do that until we determine it doesn’t work and then determine another plan if there’s a problem. But to suggest there’s going to be a problem that doesn’t exist and hasn’t proven to exist anywhere, that’s foolishness. So open the schools. One last question. Well, the other moments right, A lot of time. Morning pop, home schooling. Fine His distance. Do you needs to be? I just It’s expanding school choice, given that school be able Well, well, everybody. Every legislator on this stage has expanded school choice, and we would continue to expand options for parents. I’m a school choice parent. My wife is a school choice teacher. We’ve decided to home school for the past 25 years. That’s what we’ve been doing. It works for us that doesn’t work for everybody. For 85% of the students and 85% of the parents. Their choice is traditional public school. In the classroom. On that is the choice is really not available right now, and that’s the one that 85% pick. So, yes, I think more options. We tried that through the State Board of Education with the virtual charter school who was the one, whether more than one. But it was the example of a school that set up actually do virtual learning. And they were willing to take on some more students as many as they could handle. The state board said no to that there was a temporary expansion of the virtual charter. The state board said, No, we’re not gonna do that. Why would you turn down the most obvious choice? That’s right in front of you? That makes no sense whatsoever. But they chose to turn that down for for many for thousands of parents. I think there are about 7000 on the waiting list, and they chose to say no to that. The General Assembly then came back and said, No, you need to provide this choice. So this General Assembly represented by these folks behind us are the ones that have been making those choices for parents to have choices. Thank you. Morning, everyone. Mhm. Yeah. Lieutenant Bonaparte’s first. I want to say we’re all I personally have. Small his. That’s great. Then I would hope that you all would really report on it and drive it home. Just drive it home. Because people aren’t. They out there aren’t hearing it. They’re not seeing it. Not here, but thank you for doing it. I’m glad you are doing. I’ve also spoken with Dr Deborah Brooks. She’s the White House. Yes, meters the way. And this is what she wrote in a state report that actually private, if you’re like that, you were beginning? Yes. The recommended saying, especially encourage aggressive, can’t be and use of debt Courage, global organ system for so and yes, identify which groups are not wearing its target. First you’re done. Get those right? What do you special these? Well, I’m governor. I would lift the mask mandate for the state and allow individual freedom to decide whether they were a mask. There are people that are, uh, have pre existing conditions, and they’re in that situation where they really need to do that, and they need to protect themselves. I’m not speaking for anybody on the stage again. I’m speaking for May. Other states all over the country have done this. This is not a one size fits all approach around the nation, but that’s how most states in the country actually operate. Now is the governors. Make suggestions. Say this. You could take care of your own health. You need to do that. You need to protect yourself, especially the elderly, especially those over 65 especially those with co morbidity is we know that’s the case. We know who the vulnerable are. Over 50% of our deaths have come from nursing homes, and yet there’s very few stories that are done on nursing homes daily. About where the majority of the deaths come from, as was stated by Mr Morrow is, well, I mean it. ZTA fact that we have very few cases in North Carolina for a state are size 16,000. You have to assume, based on all studies across, uh, across America now that out of that 16,000 that about 50% of those cases in fact have no symptoms whatsoever. Eso you’re talking about 8000 people with symptoms in the state of North Carolina on, then the number. You really should be looking at his I C u ous Mrs Morrow said again, I’m gonna extrapolate a little bit from this is we have never in the history of America locked down the healthy. We have quarantined the sick. We’ve never quarantined the healthy and we continue to quarantine healthy people. Those healthy people should be going about life. They should be developing immunity for this virus, just as was said many times up here. And that’s what should be going on here in North Carolina as well. So, uh, based on all the conflicting information that has continually come out of our health professionals in Washington, D. C. I think we need to get back to the basics I agree with. The first part of the premise of the statement was, We need to be very open and honest and transparent with data and science. We need to be open and transparent. I’ve got a list that I keep on my phone of all the questions that are never asked and that the data that we never shared with anybody that should be shared. It should just be publicly shared. All anybody wants talked about his cases cases. We’re gonna go up. We know it forever. Until there’s a vaccine. Rarely does anybody talk about those cases that are not active any longer. We should only be talking about active cases and talking about issues and the people that are actually having the extreme health conditions. That’s what we should be talking about. Yeah, get this right. Was the coordinator says my death, right? Part of education. Would you bring that to school? No. The second question I have if we could I wanna be respectful of everybody’s time. I don’t know how many other reporters we have. They want to ask questions. Uh, looks like got three. We’ll take three Mawr way, folks. Legs are getting tired. Great. One Yes. Will turn efficient spreaders. However, a lot of years all admire your the spirit. The a lot of concerns are not necessarily about the health of the students, but the health of the teachers. There are teachers. No, we have Yeah. Cheers. The risk to the teachers. What? And they’re the ones. Yes. Okay. Yeah. There to help if you don’t have never teach. Okay? And Jonah, we’ve We’ve been crystal clear on that over and over and over again that if there is a teacher who has a pre existing condition of some sort, that makes that teacher more susceptible. Thio contracting the virus or having a severe, uh, situation with the virus, those of the teachers that need to be dealing with virtual learning and the other teachers need to be in the classroom with their students five days a week, full time. We’re seeing that happen in some systems. We’ve pointed to the Mount Airy system. We’re seeing that happen in many private schools in some charter schools. The fact that some people are at high risk can be waken manage for that on. That’s where the local systems come in and make make decisions about that. I think we’ve we’ve We’ve been pretty clear about that all along, and I know I think everybody up here, particularly the legislators have talked to. Parents have talked to teachers, have had communications with administrators. Most teachers want to get back into the classroom. Most of them want to get back. There are some that do have a reasonable and explainable concern. And for those teachers, there should be an accommodation made. Just like for the parents making a decision as to whether or not their Children go to school. We need to accommodate those. And we need to make sure that for most people they have the ability to get their kids in the classroom supply Europe here, you’re obviously making Say, what worse honor? Really? So slave me. Love it. It’s an election. How are you, actually, so we’re up here today because we have heard from the people of the state of North Carolina we have heard from parents across the state of North Carolina. We have heard from teachers across the state of North Carolina. Uh, it is our expectation that those people will continue to speak out. And what we expect to happen is we expect that the governor will start listening to those people as opposed to not listening. Yeah. I mean, uh, Karen students out of bulldoze teacher even, you know, I think it, uh it would be up to the local systems to set forth a protocol on how they deal individually with with teachers. What I will say is that you can You can go a half a mile from this building on you walk into all sorts of retail establishments where people are going to work every day and they have protocols in place to protect their their employees. Uh, there’s there’s a new public publics that just opened close to this building. Uh, they have a full staff. The folks in there where masks they do, uh, various cleanings, as they’re supposed thio. It’s our belief that the administrators, the teachers, the folks that run our public schools can handle those kinds of issues as well. Uh, the idea that they’re incapable of doing the very thing that we’re seeing in retail establishments all over the state, uh, is just foolishness, if you ask me. Do you believe that it? Hello? Yeah, I think it needs to be up to the district’s to decide how to handle their personnel situations. Yes. Hello, Christine. Mhm. Hey, miss being first. Forgive me. First off. Thank you, Mr Firm, that they’re not any in person services, and all this is all Yes, I can confirm they are in district eight and they are not being offered in any in person services. And we have begged for that over and over. And yes, I’m sorry. Wake County Public School system district eight. And they will not do any in person services at all. Or give us any compensation if we go for private services ourselves. Help? Uh, yeah. So they’re services are on the computer. They sign on three computer, and their therapist is on the other side virtually. Thank you, Lieutenant number. And for Senator Burger, you made very clear you want. But if there was some sort of hybrid plan, I look, grades were younger. Children were priority. Well, maybe high school stay close. Durham had a model. They were going to do it one point to make space. Would that satisfy? Or is this kind of an all? I would call that a step in the right direction. I don’t know that it satisfies, but it would be much better than a situation we currently have together. And then also off the lieutenant governor. You said there were hundreds of doctors who don’t hold them. It was I’m just encourage you to afford some of those names. I don’t give my Yeah, I’d certainly like Paul. There’s read. I want to ask, though, about mass, although again in place quite clear. Governor have said throughout summer way have to work towards opening schools. We need to do things the rates down. But you’ve been holding these. The base do not feel been worth trying to social. Good. Well, I’m gonna I’m not I’m really not gonna answer that. Travis, that’s along. The lines of three other questions have been asked this this This is about getting our kids back in school, Not about my personal preferences or what I do on the campaign trail or even what those other folks in North Carolina wanna do. So, uh, that’s really beyond the scope of this press conference. And I’m just not gonna just go there Any more of these questions? Thank you, baby. Yeah, I think I’ve been pretty clear. Yes.



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