Superintendent talks reopening on Fox News

Published 5:59 pm Thursday, July 16, 2020

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Beaufort County Schools found itself on the national stage Thursday, as BCS Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman appeared on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” program to discuss school reopening. Cheeseman says he received the invitation to appear on the program, along with other North Carolina superintendents, on Wednesday.

“I told them I would love to be able to talk about Beaufort County Schools in Washington, North Carolina,” Cheeseman said.

Fielding questions from host John Roberts about the appropriateness of the state’s plan for reentry this fall, which will blend online learning and in-person instruction, Cheeseman says he entered the interview resolved not to get into the politics of reopening. Instead, he chose to speak about the hard work of the teachers and school system staff that will be responsible for reopening local schools this fall.

“He asked a fair amount of questions, but I made a decision last night, and I told the young lady I was speaking to on the phone, that I wanted to keep this type of conversation positive,” Cheeseman said. “In any line of questioning, I was going to make sure we celebrated the educators here in Beaufort County. … He asked a few hard questions, and that’s his job to ask. But at the same time, I was not going to get involved in politics, and I was not going to get involved in some of the semantics of ‘should we be in’ or ‘should we not be in.’”

Cheeseman says that decision to avoid the political side of reopening was prompted from a phone call last night with a fellow superintendent and long-time mentor. Rather than debating whether the state should go with Plan A, B or C of reopening, he decided instead to address the school system’s path forward.

“When I was provided that invitation, the first thing I wanted to ensure was that this was an avenue for the whole world to know just how thankful we are to our teachers, our teacher assistants, our school nutrition people and all of our staff,” Cheeseman said.

Since the interview aired Thursday morning, Cheeseman says he’s gotten emails from around the country, both congratulatory and critical. The full interview can be viewed here.

For details on the school system’s reopening plans, see the article below:

Schools to blend in-person, remote learning this fall