As we start week eight of sheltering in place, I wanted to reach out and let you all know that I continue to talk with our state’s education leaders about these extraordinary circumstances and offer help and guidance when possible.  Innovation in education is needed more than ever and I have no shortage of ideas to us get through this crisis and out the other side better than we were before.

By now you know that on May 2 the General Assembly voted unanimously to pass legislation that addresses the COVID-19 crisis.  The two bills–HB 1043 and SB 704–will now be sent to the Governor where he is expected to sign both bills into law.  

North Carolina’s share of the federal government’s CARE Act is $3.5 billion and the legislature appropriated $1.5 billion of that on May 2.  District and charter schools will receive $231.6 million of this money.  Here are the highlights:

  • $60 million for district and charter schools to purchase computers and other devices for students, improve connectivity for students, and cyber security to ensure safety
  • $75 million for child nutrition 
  • $10 million for schools to hire more nurses, social workers, counselors and psychologists
  • $70 million for districts and charter schools to provide summer learning programs for elementary students
  • $15 million for Exceptional Children 

Also of note are the following school policy changes:

  • Principals will determine whether or not a 3rd grade student should be retained. 
  • Districts’ remote learning plans for the 2020-21 school year must be submitted to the State Board of Education by July 20, 2020. Plans must include how teachers will be trained to deliver online instruction.
  • Like their public school counterparts, schools with students who receive opportunity scholarships can waive standardized testing requirements.
  • Student attendance is waived as of 3/16/20.