The outcome of North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race could help determine which party controls the chamber for the next two years. Incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis faces a tough challenge from Democrat Cal Cunningham. Carolina Journal Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson analyzes recent developments in the hotly contested race. It’s safe to say N.C. colleges and universities did not reopen in the fall in the way they had expected. Some campuses welcomed students back, only to send them home again for online learning within a matter of weeks. Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, assesses university’s preparations for and responses to the challenges of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the recent actions state lawmakers have taken to address COVID-19 is a $335 check to be sent to parents of school-aged children throughout the state. State Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, explained the checks’ purpose during a recent news conference. In addition to higher education, COVID-19 has forced major changes for K-12 public education in North Carolina. During a recent online forum sponsored by the John Locke Foundation, state Sen. Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga, discussed key education challenges. Ballard explained legislative leaders approach to addressing public education issues during the pandemic. The N.C. Court of Appeals recently overturned a lower court and restored state constitutional amendments requiring a photo ID for voters and lowering the state’s cap on income tax rates. Voters had approved those measures during a statewide vote in 2018. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, explains the significance of the split 2-1 ruling. She discusses the next steps for the court case that produced the ruling.