Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

More Lawmakers Are Leading Efforts to Reopen Some Schools By Statute - And Not Just in Red States


February 25, 2021

Govs. Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Kim Reynolds of Iowa and Ralph Northam of Virginia. (Getty Images)

As the state approaches the one-year anniversary of its first COVID-related school closures, lawmakers in North Carolina have taken the dramatic step of passing legislation this month that would require districts to offer some version of in-person learning.

The proposal now sits on the desk of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has found fault with its language but not yet announced whether he will sign it. The episode is the latest public health dispute between a popular governor, reelected only last November, and a Republican legislature that has sought to curb his authority since he first took office.

It is also part of a fast-spreading trend of statutory attempts to open schools from state capitals, even as declining coronavirus cases and the accelerating deployment of vaccines present better conditions for districts to initiate the reopening process themselves. In late January, Iowa passed its own law pushing all schools to offer families at least the option of full-time, in-person education. A bipartisan group of Virginia legislators is advancing a proposal to mandate an in-person option for all students by July 1. And in California, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and his Democratic allies in Sacramento are at odds over how quickly, and under what conditions, to bring students back to their classrooms.


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