Governor Outlines School Opening Guidelines and Extends Phase Two of COVID-19 Restrictions

July 14, 2020

This week, Gov. Roy Cooper outlined a plan for K-12 school openings and extended the “Safer at Home” Phase 2 of the state’s plan to respond to the COVID-19 virus.   

Under the Plan B outlined by the Governor, schools are required to follow key safety measures including:

  • Requiring face coverings for all teachers and students
  • Limiting the total number of students, staff and visitors within a school building to the extent necessary to maintain six feet of spacing when students/staff will be stationary 
  • Conducting symptom screening, including temperature checks 
  • Establishing a process and dedicated space for people who are ill to isolate and have transportation plans for ill students
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces in the school and transportation vehicles regularly
  • Requiring frequent hand washing throughout the school day and providing hand sanitizer at entrances and in every classroom
  • Discontinuing activities that bring together large groups 
  • Limiting nonessential visitors and activities involving external groups 
  • Discontinuing use of self-service food or beverage distribution 

In addition, schools under Plan B are strongly recommended to follow additional safety measures that include:

  • Designating hallways and entrance/exit doors as one-way
  • Keeping students and teachers in small groups that stay together as much as possible
  • Having meals delivered to the classroom or having students bring food back to the classroom if social distancing is not possible in the cafeteria
  • Discontinuing activities that bring together large groups 
  • Placing physical barriers such as plexiglass at reception desks and similar areas

Districts may choose to operate under Plan C (remote learning only) if they believe it is necessary.

More details about school reopenings can be found in the Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit. The Governor also extended the Phase 2 “Safer at Home” reopening plan outlined in Executive Order 147 for three additional weeks until at least Aug. 7. Details of that Order are outlined in this Brooks Pierce client alert.

If you have questions on these matters, please contact Ed Turlington, linked below.


Brooks Pierce is dedicated to keeping our clients fully informed during the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 Response Resources page.

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