Legislation has been introduced in the North Carolina Senate that would require school systems to begin offering in-person instruction again for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year within 15 days of the bill’s passage.
Senate Bill 37 would require Durham Public Schools and all other state school districts to provide daily in-person instruction (Plan A) to all students with an Individualized Education Program or Section 504 plan, and either daily in-person instruction (Plan A) or moderate social distancing (Plan B) for all other students in grades kindergarten through 12. School boards would have the authority to close individual schools or classrooms due to COVID-19 exposures on a day-to-day basis.
DPS would also be required to continue providing fully online remote instruction for any and all families who request it.
The Durham Public Schools Board of Education and administrators are following SB 37’s progress closely and communicating with Durham County’s legislative delegation. If SB 37 passes the state Senate, it then would go to the House for consideration and, if passed, to the Governor’s desk. A two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate would be necessary to override a veto.
The DPS Board of Education voted on January 7, 2021, to remain in Plan C remote learning through the end of the 2020-21 school year. DPS administrators previously built a Plan B reopening strategy that would have prioritized daily in-person instruction for elementary students while continuing online-only instruction for grades 6-12. Senate Bill 37 as currently written would require a different strategy. DPS has been developing plans for voluntary in-person learning for students with disabilities who would be served in self-contained classrooms and for English language learners.