North Carolina will cautiously ease some restrictions while continuing safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 as the state’s metrics remained stable in September, Governor Roy Cooper announced Sept. 30.
“Our top priority remains getting children back to in-person learning. This month marks a major shift for many families now and in the coming months as schools open their doors, some for the first time since the pandemic,” said Governor Cooper. “The virus continues to spread, so we must take the next steps methodically, and responsibly.”
“We must continue our hard work to slow the spread of this virus,” said Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “By practicing the 3Ws — wear, wait and wash, — getting your flu shot, and downloading the SlowCOVIDNC app, each of us can protect the progress we have made.”
Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order 169 began Friday, Oct. 2, at 5 p.m. and continues for three weeks through October 23. Its new provisions include:
• Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators.
• Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
• Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
• Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
• Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only.
• The limits on mass gatherings will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
• The 11 pm curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended to October 23.
State and public health officials will continue watching the key COVID-19 trends over the next several weeks to determine if any further restrictions can be eased when the current Executive Order expires October 23.
Alexander County Schools’ earliest elementary reopening at full capacity would be Oct. 19:
Below is important information regarding Alexander County Schools’ response to Governor Cooper’s recent announcement regarding the ability to open schools under the Plan A option of in-person instruction for all PreK through 5th-grade students effective October 5. The following statement was released this week by Alexander County Schools administration:
“As promised, we have been thoughtful and intentional with our plans thus far and will continue to be as we draft these new plans.
“Elementary students will not return to school at full capacity on Monday (October 5). The governor’s order stated that schools could start back on October 5 or when school districts are fully ready – we are not there yet. A staff survey was completed, and the results can be found on our district website and social media sites. The parent survey is currently being conducted and is available to complete through Monday, October 5, at 9 AM.
“Data will be analyzed and shared next week. Dr. Hefner and health department officials will meet to discuss the data and COVID-19 metrics within the county as they prepare a recommendation for the board of education which will be presented at the meeting on Tuesday, October 13. The earliest anticipated possible start date for elementary students at full capacity would be October 19. We encourage you to tune in to the board of education meeting on our YouTube channel. A link will be posted on our district website and social media after 3 PM on October 13. The school board meeting begins at 6 PM.
“Thank you for your continued support and patience, as this decision is made. As always, our students’ and staff’s safety and well-being will be at the forefront of this decision,” the statement read.