North Carolina senators OK bill to force schools to reopen

Jazmyn Finney is administered a coronavirus 15-minute rapid test at the student health center on campus at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. As vaccinations slowly ramp up, some experts say turning to millions more rapid tests that are cheaper but technically less accurate may improve the chances of identifying sick people during the critical early days of infection, when they are most contagious.

North Carolina state senators have approved a bill that would require K-12 public schools to reopen with at least partial in-person instruction for the state’s 1.5 million pupils.

The bill passed 29-15 on Tuesday and moved to the House.

Gov. Roy Cooper opposes the measure. He favors local control for deciding on school reopening.

Supporters of the bill argue parents would still be allowed to have their child learn remotely and say schools would have a couple of weeks to ensure safety standards are implemented before reopening.

Teachers worry about the safety of reopening since North Carolina is not currently allowing school workers to get vaccinated. School staff are classified as “frontline essential workers” and will be next in line for the vaccine.

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