Superintendents Sound Off on Gov. Cooper Trying to Have it Both Ways on Reopening

“I was left feeling confused and frustrated by the conflicting messages that we are receiving”

Raleigh, N.C. — The headline in EdNC, an education news website, says it all: “Governor’s announcement on in-person learning leaves some education leaders bewildered.”

Superintendents around the state expected action during Gov. Cooper’s education press conference last week. Instead, they got empty rhetoric and an absurd position: Gov. Cooper both supports school reopening and opposes measures to reopen them.

Bottom Line: Senate Bill 37, which will receive a final vote in the Senate today, eliminates the confusion and mixed messages. It directs schools to offer in-person instruction and grants districts wide flexibility in how best to do so while requiring they adhere to DHHS safety protocols.

Here are some excerpts from the EdNC story.

When Rob Jackson, superintendent of Carteret County Schools, heard last Monday that Gov. Roy Cooper had set a meeting for the following day alongside State Superintendent Catherine Truitt and State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis, he was excited.

But then Tuesday came.

“As the governor’s press conference unfolded, we realized that that wasn’t happening at all,” Jackson said, adding later: “We very quickly realized that for our school system there was no change made. We were already doing what we were allowed to do.”

Jackson isn’t alone. District superintendents around the state had a variety of reactions to the governor’s announcement, and for some of them, confusion reigned. District leaders who thought state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines were changing found out instead that there was nothing they could do after the governor’s press conference that they couldn’t do before.

“It wasn’t very clear,” [Greene County Superintendent Patrick] Miller said. “Even my board chair called me and said, ‘What do you think that was about?’”

“I was left feeling confused and frustrated by the conflicting messages that we are receiving,” [Watauga County Schools Superintendent Scott] Elliott said.

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