AN ACT TO PROVIDE RELIEF TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19) PANDEMIC.
House committee substitute to the 3rd edition makes the following changes.
Adds to proposed GS 115C-84.3, which grants remote instruction authority to public school units in a county that has received a good cause waiver from the school calendar opening and closing dates under GS 115C-84.2(d). Regarding the prohibition on using remote instruction to satisfy the minimum required number of instructional days or hours for the school calendar except as permitted by subsection (b) of the proposed statute, adds that local boards can provide virtual instruction as provided in Part 3A of Article 16 of GS Chapter 115C, as enacted. Makes a clarifying change.
Makes a technical change to the proposed conforming changes to Section 6 of SL 2018-32, relating to renewal school systems.
Makes a technical correction to the authority granted to public school units regarding remote instruction during the 2021-22 school year.
Deletes the content of previous Part IIIB., which (1) authorized a public school unit to provide virtual instruction during the 2021-22 school year to a student with consent of that student's parent or legal guardian in accordance with a virtual instruction plan providing the specified required information, so long as the plan is submitted by the governing board to DPI by June 1, 2021; (2) directed the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to make available a copy of each governing board's remote instruction plan to the specified NCGA committee and the Working Group on Virtual Academies, as enacted by the act, by July 1, 2021; and (3) established 13 requirements of a virtual instruction plan.
Deletes the content of previous Part IIIC., which directed the Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish a Working Group on Virtual Academies, provided for the Working Group to review in data and information gained from the 2020-21 school year and from the virtual instruction plans submitted by public school units for the 2021-22 school year and report to the specified NCGA committee by January 15, 2022.
Adds the following content, organized as new Part IIIB.
Enacts new Part 3A to Article 16 of GS Chapter 115C, permitting local boards to apply to the State Board of Education (State Board) for approval of virtual academies, defined as public schools that provides a majority of instructional hours through virtual instruction to all students enrolled in the school. Limits total enrollment in all virtual academies granted to the local board to 10% of the total student enrollment of that unit. Additionally limits the number of virtual academies that can be granted from one to five virtual academies based on student enrollment in the unit at the time of application. Details requirements of virtual academies, including complying with all requirements of a public school and providing software and hardware needed to an enrolled student to participate in the virtual academy. Provides that virtual academies are not required to provide transportation or food services to enrolled students. Details student eligibility expansively to include (1) any student whose parent or guardian applies for admission on that student's behalf and commits to providing internet connectivity, including students with an individualized education program (IEP) if certain criteria are met, and (2) students suspended from another public school and assigned to the virtual academy. Provides for virtual academies to require attendance in-person for specified reasons. Authorizes the State Board to establish rules for student monitoring. Details the approval process for virtual academies, which includes submission of a plan meeting specified requirements, with State Board review and approval of the plan for a period of five years, with the option for an additional five-year renewal upon resubmission of the application. Authorizes revocation of approval based on substantial noncompliance with the new Part's requirements or the approved plan. Allows for the unit to obtain written approval for plan modifications from the State Board. Requires assignment of a school code and principal for each school. Requires the State Board to evaluate approved virtual academies based on specified measures and annually report to the specified NCGA committee by November 15.
Directs the State Board to adopt emergency rules for the new Part's implementation for use in the 2021-22 school year only. Requires the State Board to make its first evaluation report by November 15, 2022.
Allows a local unit that has been assigned a school code to operate with virtual instruction as the primary means of instruction by May 1, 2021, to continue such operation to satisfy the minimum required number of instructional days or hours for the 2021-22 school calendar.
Authorizes charter schools to provide blended learning that includes virtual instruction during the 2021-22 school year if the Office of Charter Schools has approved a curriculum amendment allowing such for that school year by September 1, 2021.
Applies beginning with the 2021-22 school year.
Adds the following new content, organized as Part VIII.
Makes the following social studies standard course of study changes apply in order to provide additional time for the development of content and to ensure sufficient professional development opportunities delayed due to COVID-19: (1) the course requirements of GS 115C-81.45(d), Founding Principles of the United States of America and North Carolina: Civic Literacy, applicable to all students entering the ninth grade in the 2022-23 school year; and (2) the course requirements of GS 115C-81.65, Economics and Personal Finance, applicable to all students entering the ninth grade in the 2022-23 school year. Bars implementation of all other revisions to the social studies standard course of study prior to the 2022-23 school year. Makes conforming changes to renumber the remaining Parts of the act.
Expands the proposed extension for a continuing professional license applicant whose license expires June 30, 2021, to meet the exam requirements established by the State Board as of June 30, 2021, applicable to applicants holding a current initial professional license, residency license, lateral entry license, or limited license expiring June 30, 2021, to also include those who have not met the coursework requirements established by the State Board as of June 30, 2021, granting an extension until September 30, 2021.
Modifies the qualifications for a residency license under GS 115C-270.20(a)(5) to allow for the individual to hold a bachelor's degree and/or an advanced degree (was bachelor's degree only).
Deletes the proposed changes to GS 115C-84.2(f)(5), establishing an alternative plan for year-round schools for local school administrative units with both single- and multi-track instructional calendars as new sub-subdivision d. Instead, revises the second of the three plans a year-round school is permitted to use to provide instructional days throughout the entire school calendar year to describe the plan as providing students be schedules to attend four quarters of between 43 and 47 instructional days each school calendar year, with vacation periods for students of between 14 and 18 days separating each quarter (was, providing students be scheduled to attend 45 instructional days followed by 15 days of vacation, repeated throughout the school calendar year). Applies beginning with the 2021-22 school year.
Adds the following new content.
Makes the following applicable for the 2021-22 school year, if the total kindergarten average daily membership (ADM) for the first month of the 2021-22 school year for a local unit is 5% or more than that of the first month of the 2019-20 school year for that unit: (1) prohibits the average class size for kindergarten in that unit from exceeding one teacher per 20 students; and (2) prohibits an individual class in kindergarten in that unit from exceeding one teacher per 23 students at the end of the second school month and for the remainder of the school year.
Amends Section 3.2 of SL 2021-25 (Additional COVID-19 Response & Relief), increasing the amount of federal funds to be received by the State under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund from $3,260,772,535 to $3,599,191,706. Make conforming adjustments to the total federal funds set forth in the schedule. Removes the provision that appropriates federal funds received by the State under the ARPA from the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund only up to the estimated amount set forth in the schedule, as now amended.
Amends Section 3.5 of SL 2021-25, which requires DPI to use the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund funds appropriated in Section 3.2 of that act to allocate the federal grant funds to public school units pursuant to the specified provisions under the ARPA, and to reserve a specified amount of the funds pursuant to the specified provisions under the ARPA to be used in specified amounts for two specified purposes. Increases the amount of funds required to be reserved from $21.5 million to $359,919,171, and provides for 24 additional allocations in the amounts specified for the following uses, with applicable requirements and restrictions set forth for each:
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