Governor Signs Senate Bill 704

On May 4, Governor Roy Cooper passed Senate Bill 704. In response to COVID-19, digital inclusion-related policy is outlined below. 



  • Public schools to develop a Remote Instruction Plan (Plan) for the 2020-2021 school year that provides a detailed framework for delivering quality remote instruction to all students during the 2020-2021 school year. The Plan should be developed in collaboration with school staff, parents, students and the community and should include  teacher training, information on student and teacher home connectivity, and community resources available to parents and students on remote instruction days. The Plan should ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the remote instruction that is provided in a manner consistent with each student’s individualized education program (IEP) or 504 plan. It should also include technology support for students experiencing technical difficulties and other elements outlined in section SECTION 2.11.(a). Plans are due to the State Board no later than July 20, 2020. 
  • A school administrator who is required to meet continuing education credits in high-quality, integrated digital teaching and learning for licensure renewal by June 30, 2020, shall have until June 30, 2021, to meet the requirements.



  • NC Area Health Education Center (NC AHEC) to conduct a study on the impact of health care delivery and the health care workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, issues that need to be addressed in the aftermath of the pandemic, and plans that should be implemented in the event of a future health crisis. The bill outlines several areas of examination and reporting, including: 1) ability of telehealth options to deliver routine and emergent health and behavioral health services to patients, and 2) impact of telehealth on hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is due on or before November 15, 2020.
  • Telehealth may now be used to conduct a first examination to determine if a respondent will be involuntarily committed due to a substance use disorder. Telehealth may also be used to conduct a second examination to determine whether the respondent will be involuntarily committed due to mental illness or substance use disorder. Physicians must be satisfied to a reasonable medical certainty that the determinations would not be different if the examination had been conducted face-to-face.To expire 30 days after Executive Order No. 116 is rescinded.
  • Urges the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to provide reimbursement for health care delivered through audio-only communication, such as over the telephone, under the Medicare program in order to reduce barriers and increase access to health care for older adults.