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Gov. Cooper: All public K-12 schools in North Carolina to close for two weeks

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has issued a executive order due to COVID-19. All public K-12 schools will close on Monday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order Saturday: all K-12 public schools across North Carolina will be closed for at least two weeks due to coronavirus concerns.

Schools across the state will close Monday, March 16.

Cooper said although several school districts had already made similar decisions, he felt the need for a statewide response. 

"I do not make this decision lightly," Cooper said in a tweet. "We know that it will be difficult on many parents and students. These measures will hurt people whose incomes are affected by the prohibition of mass gatherings, particularly the people who are paid by the hour."

Cooper said they are working on efforts to deal with challenges that will come from this decision, including the impact on working parents, and children who get their meals at school. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools released a statement in light of the executive order, saying while all CMS schools will be closed beginning Monday, the district will work to keep school buildings open on Monday. 

CMS before and after school programs will also be closed for at least two weeks, according to the district. 

"The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented community health concern," a press release from CMS said, in part. "CMS executive leaders, in partnership with local and state officials, are developing plans to address these exceptional circumstances. These plans include feeding students and continuing learning using a virtual platform."

The CMS Board of Education also plans to schedule a meeting to vote to return to the original CMS school calendar. It comes just one day after the board voted to move spring break from April to March.

RELATED: Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools to begin spring break early

In addition to this executive order, Cooper also issued an executive order to stop "mass gatherings" of more than 100 people statewide. Originally, this was issued as guidance. Cooper said since several venues continued their events, an executive order was issued to make it mandatory.

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