Gov. Roy Cooper orders all K-12 public schools to close as more coronavirus cases are announced

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Governor Roy Cooper on Saturday afternoon issued an executive order to stop mass gatherings of more than 100 people and close all K-12 public schools across the state of North Carolina as new cases of coronavirus continue to pop up.

The closures will start on Monday, March 16 for at least 2 weeks.

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"I do not make this decision lightly," Gov. Cooper said at a news conference. "We know that it will be difficult on many parents and students. These measures will hurt people whose incomes are affected by the prohibition of mass gatherings, particularly the people who are paid by the hour."

Governor Cooper announced he has appointed an Education and Nutrition Working Group to develop a plan to ensure that children and families are supported while schools are closed.

"I am standing up this new working group to ensure that children have enough food to eat, families have care in safe places for their young children, and student learning continues," Governor Cooper said.

His announcement came just an hour after Wake County Public Schools announced that it would close schools beginning on Monday, March 16 through at least Friday, March 27.

That decision was made after Wake County made public that a Fuquay-Varina elementary school teacher tested positive for COVID-19.



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Wake County officials announced Saturday a WCPSS teacher at Fuquay-Varina Elementary tested positive for COVID-19.



DURHAM

Durham Public Schools decided on Thursday to close for students.

"This is an effort to protect our students, staff, and community, and to slow the spread of the virus," DPS said in a release Thursday.

On Friday at a news conference, DPS Superintendent Dr. Pascal Mubenga said students would be out of school from March 16 through April 3.

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Spring break was moved for all students to the week of March 16, granting the staff the flexibility to work from home if possible.

"To maximize time, the week of March 16th, the students will be on break," Mubenga said. "The week of March 23 they will be giving supplemental learning materials. They will evaluate the return date. School facilities will be closed including rentals."

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Mubenga said accommodations were being made for students who rely on school breakfasts and lunches.

"DPS will begin a daily feeding program for Durham County students on Monday, March 23," Mubenga said. "It will be similar to the summer meals initiative. They will provide locations for families to pick up meals, details will be available next week."

The magnet approval process is being extended to a week after students return.

Mubenga also said students with disabilities will have access to all resources being made to students.

The school spokesman said it's a big deal to close schools, so they wanted to let parents know right away even though there were still details to figure out.

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"We're going to project our plans for how we're going to deal with spring break, how we're going to work with distance learning, so we're going to work out some of those details and by the close of business Friday on the Durham Public School's website, we'll have more information for families," Chip Sudderth DPS spokesman told ABC11 on Thursday night

Mubenga said Friday that the decision was made after taking feedback from parents into account.

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"Concerned parents wanted to pull their kids from school," Mubenga said. "Not an easy decision to come up to."

He also said DPS plans to use bus drivers to deliver learning supplies and food to students.

Other school districts have also made adjustments. Click here for details.
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