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According to North Carolina’s health secretary, Dr. Anthony Fauci played a big role in them waiting before reopening public schools with fully in-person instruction.  WRAL in Raleigh reported that Governor Roy Cooper’s administration was leaning toward reopening schools with full in-person learning in June, but delayed the decision after a call with Dr. Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Charlotte news station, WBTV interviewed NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen Monday, Aug. 17, as schools all over the state reopened.

Cohen said as leaders were working to make the decision on school reopening, they were trying to weigh the benefits and the risks, and she mentioned the many benefits of in-person instruction.  She stated, “I mean, every parent, every teacher will tell you about not just the learning aspects of in-person school, but the socialization, the social emotional growth, but also kids get their nutrition at school,” Cohen said.

Unfortunately, at the end of June and beginning of July, North Carolina’s coronavirus numbers were still going up.  So, North Carolina’s health leaders had a conversation with Dr. Fauci.  Dr. Cohen said Fauci told them “You know what? You do not need to make this decision today. Why don’t you wait and watch your trends? Like another couple of weeks.”Dr. Cohen thinks Fauci was right.

In July, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina schools would reopen in August under “Plan B,” allowing both in-person and remote learning.The “Plan B” approach lets students participate in a mix of in-classroom and remote learning. This plan involves some students potentially rotating schedules, with some students not coming onto campus at all. Schools were also allowed the option of completely virtual learning, as laid out in N.C.‘s “Plan C.”

Some school districts decided to go fully-remote, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. CMS has said they would go back in the classroom when it’s safe.

Dr. Cohen says she believes the state’s trends are already in a place where in-person instruction is possible, as long as they put in place the correct safety and health protocols. Cohen says she thinks the bigger issue the time and space it takes to get those protocols in place.

Dr. Cohen says she’s hoping to see districts use these first few weeks to work the process to get back to in-person instruction. As far as an estimated time for a return to the classroom, Dr. Cohen said that falls on a district-by-district basis. She thinks it’s right for CMS officials to see how the university openings go in the Charlotte area and see how a couple more weeks go. During that time, the health secretary says officials should work on the protocols and then reevaluate.

Story Courtesy WBTV News