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Public schools to stay closed until May 15

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RALEIGH — On Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered K-12 public schools to remain closed until at least May 15 for in-person instruction.

State and local education leaders helped Cooper make the decision by looking at recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the governor said. 

Cooper said the length of school closures may change.

Schools have been shut since March 15. A two-month closure cannot be treated as a long break, state Superintendent Mark Johnson said.

While students do not have to learn complicated information on their own, he recommends parents work with teachers to create a schedule that prioritizes remote learning.

“To our parents, keep your kids engaged,” Johnson said. “Work on remote learning, reading and writing a few hours each day. Get fresh air. Go to bed at a reasonable time.

“Set a schedule and stick to it.”

Cooper said he did not want to give up on this school year and hopes students will be able to return.

The state Board of Education also asked the General Assembly to waive testing requirements for schools on Monday. The federal Department of Education waived those testing requirements across the nation on Friday, which gave states the power to waive end-of-course and end-of-grade testing.

More guidance for employees is forthcoming, the board said Monday.

There is one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Granville County and one in Vance County, health officials said.

The latest official tally by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services showed 297 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state as of Monday morning. More than 8,400 tests have been completed in the state, and no deaths have been reported. 

Nationally, more than 15,000 people are infected and more than 200 have died.