Education
Governor Cooper Allows Districts To Open Elementary Schools PDF Print E-mail
Education
By Administrator   
Friday, 18 September 2020 17:20
After several weeks of stable COVID-19 trends and continued low virus spread in school settings, Governor Roy Cooper today announced that beginning on October 5, North Carolina public school districts and charter schools can choose to implement Plan A for elementary schools (grades K-5). Plan A continues to include important safety measures like face coverings for all students, teachers and staff, social distancing, and symptom screening, but does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom. 
 
“We are able to open this option because most North Carolinians have doubled down on our safety and prevention measures and stabilized our numbers,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “North Carolinians are doing the hard work to improve our numbers and trends. Many people are wearing masks, keeping social distance and being careful to protect others as well as themselves. We have shown that listening to the science works. And I’m proud of our resolve.”
 
As the Governor announced in July, every district will continue to have flexibility to select Plan A, B or C based on their unique needs. In addition, districts should still provide an option for families to select all remote learning for their students. Read the Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit to learn more about the requirements under each plan. 
 
Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shared an update on North Carolina’s data trends. Dr. Cohen explained that North Carolina has seen a sustained leveling or decrease of key metrics. 
 
“Our trends show that we are on the right track. It’s up to all of us to protect our progress. Our individual actions like those 3 Ws will help keep our school doors open.,” said Secretary Cohen.
 
Dr. Cohen also explained that as schools have opened, the current science shows that younger children are less likely to become infected, have symptoms, experience severe disease or spread the virus. 
 
“It’s great news today that we are a step closer to providing the option of in-person learning to families who want their children to return to school,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson. “While the Governor, the State Board of Education, and I have our differences, I join with them today to encourage local school board members to take advantage of this change and open all schools safely. I thank the many parents and teachers across North Carolina who have been vocal advocates on this important issue.”
 
“For the past 6 months, superintendents, principals, teachers and local BOE have worked diligently to care for the safety of our students and staff while educating our children. While we are anxious to return all students, we know that teachers, principals, and students need a gradual transition over the next 3 months. I ask our parents to remain patient, knowing that we are moving as quickly as is safely possible. And I ask our teachers to continue to assist our students by supporting this deliberate, thoughtful transition," said  Eric Davis, Chairman of the State Board of Education.  
 
Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
 
North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is declining.
Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
 
North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is declining.
Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
 
North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is declining.
Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
 
North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is declining.
In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:
 
Laboratory Testing 
 
Access to testing has expanded. No-cost testing events are being deployed across the state and testing turnaround times have improved.
Tracing Capability
 
Contact tracers continue to be hired to bolster the efforts of local health departments. A new exposure notification app will be launched soon. 
Personal Protective Equipment 
 
Personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable
North Carolina education leaders gave statements in support of Governor Cooper’s announcement.
 
Mark Johnson, Superintendent of NC Department of Public Instruction: “It’s great news today that we are a step closer to providing the option of in-person learning to families who want their children to return to school. While the Governor, the State Board of Education, and I have our differences, I join with them today to encourage local school board members to take advantage of this change and open all schools safely. I thank the many parents and teachers across North Carolina who have been vocal advocates on this important issue.”
 
Eric Davis, Chair of NC State Board of Education: “For the past 6 months, superintendents, principals, teachers and local BOE have worked diligently to care for the safety of our students and staff while educating our children. While we are anxious to return all students, we know that teachers, principals, and students need a gradual transition over the next 3 months. I ask our parents to remain patient, knowing that we are moving as quickly as is safely possible. And I ask our teachers to continue to assist our students by supporting this deliberate, thoughtful transition."
 
 
Terracon Foundation Awards $5,000 Grant To North Carolina State University PDF Print E-mail
Education
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 05 August 2020 08:21
The Terracon Foundation announced a $5,000 grant to North Carolina State University (NCSU) to fund the Terracon Graduate Recruitment Assistance Fund. 
The fund is aimed at assisting prospective graduate students with visiting costs, allowing more students to visit NCSU, and allowing the university to expand the applicant pool and continue to select top talent. 
 
Terracon is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 5,000 employees providing environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services from more than 150 offices with services available in all 50 states. Terracon ranks 22nd on Engineering News-Record’s 2020 list of Top 500 Design Firms. For additional information about Terracon, visit terracon.com.
 
“Terracon’s Raleigh office has a longstanding relationship with NCSU,” said Aaron Layne, national director of materials based in Terracon’s Raleigh office, who championed the grant. “We have supported multiple professors with research projects by providing equipment and technical advice, volunteered at the university, participated in fundraisers, and more. I look forward to solidifying our relationship with NCSU and supporting a great university that is integral to the engineering community we work in every day.”
 
“Graduate students are essential to our mission to provide the very best engineering education and to conduct leading-edge research to develop sustainable infrastructure for society,” said Morton A. Barlaz, Ph.D., P.E., head of the department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University. “I am grateful for Terracon's support for recruiting the very best graduate students to NC State. Our graduates have a long history of growing into leaders in engineering practice.”
 
The Terracon Foundation has been making grants to provide engineering students with scholarships since 2008. For more information about the Terracon Foundation, visit terracon.com/foundation/.
 
 
 
UNC System President Cites Personal History And Commitment In Video Address To UNC Employees PDF Print E-mail
Education
By Administrator   
Monday, 03 August 2020 08:35

University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans released the following statement and video to UNC System employees.

Hans assumed this role on August 1. Hans succeeds Margaret Spellings, who served as president of the UNC System from March 1, 2016, until March 1, 2019. Dr. Bill Roper has served as interim president since January 2019.

Video transcript 

 

I’m Peter Hans, and I’m enormously proud to be the new president of the University of North Carolina System.

Today is my first day on the job, but I’m no stranger to this remarkable institution. I’m a graduate, past Board member, and I’ve worked closely with many of you during my time as president of North Carolina’s community colleges.

I’ve been a grateful friend and supporter, and today I become your colleague.

We’re facing a moment like no other in American higher education. A pandemic that has disrupted every aspect of our lives and work. Protests that speak to the ideals of our nation. An economic downturn that will deepen the value of our work while also making it harder.

Lives, livelihoods are under threat. All of us are under immense stress. Many are in grief. Which is simply to say, we’ll all need grace and kindness in the days to come.

So let’s offer it to one another. We’ll all need good will and good faith, so let’s grant it to one another.

There’s never been a more apt time to love thy neighbor, and the UNC System is a very big neighborhood.

The tests in front of us are daunting. This University was not built for easy things. It was built for the hard and worthy work of public service. And planning for the months ahead, we’re asked to balance public health with our core mission of public education.

We must do right by our students while also protecting our communities and our colleagues.

There are no easy answers to those tensions. But they mirror the complex challenges our entire society is facing right now, and I think it’s our duty to help chart a path forward.

That’s what the university has always done with its greatest contributions coming in times of deepest need. I’m amazed at the resilience of our faculty and staff in managing the sudden shift to online learning in the spring.

It was an achievement of staggering scale, and it gives me hope for how will continue to adapt – online in person or a combination. Come what may, we will deliver for our students.

We all know what’s at stake. Families are counting on us for new opportunities for better prospects amidst this uncertainty.

Our state is counting on us to help drive the struggling economy and provide answers to the most pressing questions of our time.

So here’s my pledge to you: I’ll be here each and every day with an open heart, open mind, doing my best to offer steady, stable leadership and support your best work.

We will encounter more than enough turbulence without creating any of our own.

I’ll be an effective and responsible advocate for funding and public support, upholding this University’s twin commitments to affordability and excellence. And we all know that the cost of a degree has risen too far too fast. We’ve got to change that. It’s vital for our economy, our democracy, and our culture.

I’ll work to make higher education trusted and accessible, and relevant for the people of the state. I’ll embrace the public schools, community colleges, and private institutions as full partners in our mission.

And I’ll testify anywhere and everywhere I can to the redemptive power of education, because education is most potent medicine we have for the health of our people and the surest route to shared prosperity.

Knowledge is the antidote to what ails us, whether it’s a virus, racism, or an absence of opportunity.

No matter who you are, where you live, who you love, what you look like, what you believe, where you came from, we’re all imperfect and striving—all linked by a common fate, all deserving of respect and dignity.

Those are the truths we’re called upon to defend. The care we’re obliged to give. The values we protect most dearly in times of greatest difficulty.

I’m proud to stand alongside of you, proud to be a small part of this great work.

 

Thank you.

 
UNC System Attacked By Ransonware PDF Print E-mail
Education
By Administrator   
Friday, 31 July 2020 10:00

The University of North Carolina System has been notified of a ransomware attack on Blackbaud, a private company contracted to provide relationship management services for the UNC System and several constituent institutions.

On July 16, Blackbaud informed the UNC System Office that the company discovered in May that it had been the victim of a ransomware attack.  Blackbaud is one of the world’s largest providers of relationship management systems, and this incident has impacted higher education institutions, as well as other foundations, health care organizations and non-profit organizations around the world. 

After investigating the matter, Blackbaud foundthat the intruders removed a copy of a subset of information relevant to several of Blackbaud’s customers.  According to Blackbaud, encrypted data, including Social Security numbers, bank account, and payment card information to the extent any such data was involved, was not readable by the intruders.  Information that may have been available to the intruders includes donors’ names, physical addresses, birthdays, giving history, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. According to Blackbaud’s communication, they have reason to believe that the intruders no longer have access to the data and did not pass the data on to anyone else.   

 

We will continue to seek additional information from Blackbaud to determine the full extent and impact of this incident.

 

 
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