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The Roanoke Rapids Graded School District will be conducting a parent-student survey to determine how many of the system’s Pre-K through fifth-grade students want to return to school under plans announced by Governor Roy Cooper today.

District spokesman Les Atkins said in a statement that once the data is compiled and reviewed the school board will meet to discuss its next steps.

The announcement by the school system comes after Cooper announced that districts will be able to reopen elementary schools on plan A as early as October 5.

The RRGSD said while the governor’s order lifts some mandates placed on public schools it still requires face coverings, social distancing, and symptom screening for all students and staff.  

In a press release today the governor’s office said after several weeks of stable COVID-19 trends and continued low virus spread in school settings that beginning on October 5 North Carolina public school districts and charter schools can choose to implement plan A for elementary schools. 

Plan A continues to include safety measures like face coverings for all students, teachers and staff, social distancing, and symptom screening, but does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom. 

“We are able to open this option because most North Carolinians have doubled down on our safety and prevention measures and stabilized our numbers,” said Cooper. “North Carolinians are doing the hard work to improve our numbers and trends. Many people are wearing masks, keeping social distance and being careful to protect others as well as themselves. We have shown that listening to science works. And I’m proud of our resolve.”

Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shared an update on North Carolina’s data trends. Cohen explained that North Carolina has seen a sustained leveling or decrease of key metrics. “Our trends show that we are on the right track. It’s up to all of us to protect our progress. Our individual actions like those 3 Ws will help keep our school doors open.” 

Cohen also explained that as schools have opened, the current science shows that younger children are less likely to become infected, have symptoms, experience severe disease or spread the virus. 

“It’s great news today that we are a step closer to providing the option of in-person learning to families who want their children to return to school,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson. “While the governor, the state board of education, and I have our differences, I join with them today to encourage local school board members to take advantage of this change and open all schools safely. I thank the many parents and teachers across North Carolina who have been vocal advocates on this important issue.”

State school board Chair Eric Davis said, “For the past six months, superintendents, principals, teachers and local boards of education have worked diligently to care for the safety of our students and staff while educating our children. While we are anxious to return all students, we know that teachers, principals, and students need a gradual transition over the next three months. I ask our parents to remain patient, knowing that we are moving as quickly as is safely possible. And I ask our teachers to continue to assist our students by supporting this deliberate, thoughtful transition."