Senator Phil Berger has made it no secret that he wants schools to open up to all students on August 17th.
Forget that he is no scientist or epidemiologist. Forget that he wants to maintain political power in this election year. Forget what states like Texas and Florida are going through for opening up the their economies too quickly. Forget that hospitalizations are still rising and positive test percentages are still high.
Forget that he still refuses to expand Medicaid when just yesterday the overwhelmingly “red” state of Oklahoma passed expansion with a state-wide vote.
And forget that most North Carolinians do not want to fully open schools this fall period.
From today’s News & Observer:
Specifically it reported:
“The option of sending students back part-time drew the most support in the Elon poll at 38%, followed by 34% for returning full time and 29% for staying at home for school. The poll of 1,410 North Carolina adults was conducted June 24-25 and has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.“
Forget all of that. Berger wants schools to be fully open.
Damn the science and damn what most North Carolinians think.
So, what is Berger going to do about even making that fantasy possible? Because no matter what plan Governor Cooper outlines in his “soon-to-be-announced-plans,” it will require funds and resources to make any of them happen.
Each LEA has to figure out a way to make whatever plan(s) are put into place work for the next school year’s opening. And just anticipating what might happen is taxing communities. For instance, this report from the Winston-Salem Journal about a school board meeting to discuss options and their price tags shows that any plan will need funding and resources.
It included this tidbit:
“Though not required, the state is recommending COVID-19 coordinators in each school, which will cost an estimated $5.1 million.”
This is the same state that won’t even finance a nurse in each school or enough support personnel for the vast numbers of students served in public schools each day.
If Berger & Com. want to recommend what plan (A, B, or C) should be enacted, then the NCGA needs to come up with a funding protocol that it is willing to follow to make sure that any of those plans can be enacted. And since Berger wants to go back in full on the 17th, he is suggesting that what might be the option that needs the most support.
So, what will Berger and his cohorts offer other than hot air and electioneering rhetoric to help any of the plans for reopening schools happen?
Probably not much.
Remember, this is the same NCGA leadership that stayed in session for a veto override opportunity for four months but adjourned before we have a plan in place for schools and a need to get resources to them.