RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Senate Republicans are drawing up legislation that would require all public school districts to offer in-person instruction of some kind to students, a key lawmaker said on Thursday, addressing frustrations about online learning during the pandemic.

A news release from Senate Education Committee co-chair Deanna Ballard said a proposal would be unveiled in the coming days. Any mandate would still give parents the option to stick with virtual-only learning, the release said.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper agreed that K-5 students could return to full-time in-person classes in October with proper safety protocols. More protocols are required for middle and high school students to come to class. But many school districts have stuck with only offering virtual learning due to safety concerns.

Worries are growing, however, that some students who have been left out of classrooms are increasingly falling behind. More data also suggest the coronavirus transmission threat is low within schools if social distancing is followed.

Republican Senate leader Phil Berger has said Cooper, who would be asked to sign any legislation, hasn't acted decisively to return students to school.

Cooper on Wednesday said his priority remains to get children back in classrooms in a safe manner. Cooper said he's asking local education leaders to examine recent studies about transmission in schools.