• Back to School

     

    September 13, 2021 

    Good Evening Students, Staff and Families.  This is Ashley-Michelle Thublin, Executive Director of Communications.  

    On behalf of  Dr. Gene and the Asheville City Board of Education, I’m reaching out with a safety update. 

    HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS

    COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols were discussed during this evening’s Work Session of the Asheville City Board of Education.  The presentation shared with the Board can be found here

    A panel made up of school and district leaders discussed our data dashboard, announcing that, beginning this week, Asheville City Schools will include the total number of confirmed positive cases on each campus since the 2021-2022 school year began as well as how many students are currently in quarantine.  The panel also talked through possible scenarios (such as a student tests positive for COVID-19 and is able to complete their school work) and how the district would provide support while they were away.  Per previous communications, you can find additional details about Asheville City Schools’ academic response if your child is quarantined or tests positive for COVID-19, here.  

    And, please be reminded that Asheville City Schools is now requiring a full 14-day exclusion from in-person learning for unvaccinated individuals who are deemed as close contacts to someone that has tested positive for COVID-19.  

    • Per the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit, an individual can only discontinue quarantine before the 14 days of last exposure if they wear their face coverings and maintain physical distancing of six feet or more at all times.  
    • With all our students and staff learning in person, it is difficult to ensure that we can carry out such protocols for every student every minute of the day; therefore, in order to be consistent, we have made this our procedure for all grade levels at this time.  
    • We will continue with this procedure while our countywide transmissions rates are high and will reconsider other options once countywide transmission rates decline.

    As shared, if your child is identified as a close contact and is fully vaccinated, they can return to school the next day if they have no symptoms and are able to provide proof of vaccination. 

    Please watch the recorded meeting to hear more from our panel of experts.  The health and safety discussion began around 45 minutes into the meeting.  

    SCHOOL NUTRITION

    Additionally, the district’s School Nutrition Director, Melissa Bates, also shared safety updates pertaining to her department.  

    • Based on the unique needs of their building and the number of school nutrition staff members on their campus, principals have created their own transition plans to ensure all students, Kindergarten - 12th Grade, are going through the lunch line.  The district is supporting their decision-making.  Please know the only prerequisite to the plan was that lunches would no longer be delivered to classrooms; all other decisions were left up to the discretion of school leadership.  
    • As staff currently stands, Asheville City Schools does not have the manpower to deliver meals to all elementary classrooms long-term.  In addition to school-based staffing shortages, at this time, four out of the nine cafeterias have vacancies.  
    • Having students come through the line to pick out items eliminates food waste, as students select just what they’d like to eat.  On the other hand, when meals are brought to the classroom, enough is prepared and brought for each student to have one of each item.  If a student chooses not to eat something, it must be discarded.
    • Mrs. Bates is concerned that, by delivering food to the classroom, we are making students take food they may not eat and increasing food waste at a time when we are having trouble receiving food.  School Nutrition Programs across the country are experiencing supply chain issues due to limited product availability, nationwide transportation challenges and supplier’s labor shortages.
    • The National School Lunch Program is not set up to serve meals in the classroom.  
      • To Mrs. Bates’ knowledge, no other districts are serving lunch in the classroom.
      • NCDPI School Nutrition Services considers this year normal and is only granting waiver flexibility in rare circumstances.
      • Mrs. Bates called to discuss our self-service options and procedures with the local health inspector.  The health inspector stated that we do not have any COVID-19 restrictions for the way we serve.
    • Even while in the lunch line, students should continue to follow districtwide physical distancing protocols. 

    ATHLETICS 

    Sonita Warren-Dixon, Asheville High Schools’ Athletic Director, explained how the district is keeping its student-athletes safe.  

    • Coach Warren-Dixon reemphasized that our number one priority remains to protect our student-athletes, coaches and fans.
    • Student-athletes ages 12+ are encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they have not already done so, as vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • Student-athletes continue to follow the three Ws - waiting six feet apart, wearing face coverings and frequently washing their hands. 
      • Even when they’re outside, student-athletes are required to wear masks unless they’re actively engaging in rigorous physical activity.  
    • Both buses and locker rooms are routinely sanitized. 
    • Student-athletes are NOT drinking out of the same water bottles.  

    She also reminded Cougar Fans that face coverings are strongly recommended and encouraged to be worn when attending an outside athletic event, especially for those that are not vaccinated.  And, in alignment with our current districtwide protocols, face coverings are required for all indoor athletic events.  Parents, we are asking for your support in reiterating to your child how important it is to keep our community safe and healthy.  

    CONTINUE TO MONITOR FOR COVID-19 SYMPTOMS

    Board members were also reminded of COVID-19 symptoms.  In order to keep our staff and students as safe as possible, we ask that families continue to monitor for: 

    • Fever or chills 
    • Cough 
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
    • Fatigue 
    • Muscle or body aches 
    • Headache 
    • New loss of taste or smell 
    • Sore throat 
    • Congestion or runny nose 
    • Nausea or vomiting 
    • Diarrhea

    And, if any student, teacher or staff member has symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay home and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and further care.  Please know that Asheville City Schools is also able to provide no-cost, rapid antigen tests at each of our district buildings as part of a statewide program. 

    In closing, thank you for your continued support of Asheville City Schools.  We will continue to modify our safety protocols to ensure we can maintain a healthy, in-person learning environment.


    September 8, 2021 

    Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families. This is Ashley-Michelle Thublin, Executive Director of Communications, with a back-to-school safety update. 

    First and foremost, I wanted to let you know that, per Senate Bill 654, the Asheville City Board of Education will be required to vote monthly on whether they would like to continue to require face coverings for all students and staff.  Therefore, as part of these requirements, “face coverings” will be an item on the agenda of the September 13th Work Session, and the Board will be voting on it during the September 20th Regular Meeting.  And, “face coverings” will be a standing item on meeting agendas for the foreseeable future.  

    I’m also writing to provide you with further clarification regarding confirmed positives, how confirmed positives are communicated and our quarantine/isolation procedures.  

    CONFIRMED POSITIVES: 

    We’ve received a few questions from parents about what makes a case a “confirmed positive.”

    • If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 with an at-home test kit that was NOT prescribed/ordered by a healthcare provider or from an at-home specimen collection kit that was sent to a lab for testing (like Pixel by LabCorp), Asheville City Schools is requiring a second test to confirm the diagnosis.  The second test can be carried out by your local healthcare provider or at no charge at any Asheville City Schools facility.  At-home tests that are not prescribed by a healthcare provider or sent to a lab are not acceptable testing results per North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services guidelines.  
    • If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 with an Asheville City Schools rapid antigen test, we are not requiring them to receive a second positive test. Please know that Asheville City Schools is able to provide rapid antigen tests at school as part of a statewide program.  All tests that result in a positive diagnosis are reported to the state and to BCHHS.  
    • Students and/or their parents can provide Asheville City Schools with a positive test result from a local healthcare provider or certified testing site to allow for confirmation of a positive case.    

    As a reminder, if your child has been tested for COVID-19 and is waiting on their results, they should not come to school. 

    And, if a student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, they are required to isolate. Per the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit, Asheville City Schools will continue to follow the recommendations of our local public health department regarding quarantine for close contacts and isolation for positive cases.

    COMMUNICATION ABOUT CONFIRMED POSITIVE

    Our goal remains to provide you with accurate information as quickly as possible. 

    However, we want you to know that contact tracing only occurs for confirmed positive cases.  

    School administrators are also only able to notify families that a student in their child’s class has tested positive for COVID-19 after 1) a case has been confirmed and 2) close contacts have been identified. 

    We know that this can be very stressful for families, especially when information is shared amongst friends before the individual case can be confirmed.  However, the district must wait until a case has been confirmed to ensure the information we’re sharing is accurate. 

    In order to keep our staff and students as safe as possible, we ask that you continue to monitor your child for COVID-19 symptoms: 

    • Fever or chills 
    • Cough 
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
    • Fatigue 
    • Muscle or body aches 
    • Headache 
    • New loss of taste or smell 
    • Sore throat 
    • Congestion or runny nose 
    • Nausea or vomiting 
    • Diarrhea 

    QUARANTINE PROCEDURES: 

    Additionally, we wanted to let you know about an update to our quarantine protocols.  

    In August, we provided you with different scenarios to support families if their child was in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.  Since then, we have updated our decision because, now that students are back in our classrooms, we realize we cannot guarantee physical distancing as required for a shortened quarantine, although staff and students are maintaining as much physical distance as possible. 

    In collaboration with our MAHEC School Nurse Team, we have determined that: 

    • If your child IS NOT fully vaccinated and is identified as a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they will be required to stay home from school and quarantine for 14 days.  If your child is confirmed as a close contact, specific communication will be shared directly with your family, including the day your child can return to school.  
    • If your child is identified as a close contact and IS fully vaccinated, they can return to school the next day if they have no symptoms and are able to provide proof of vaccination.  

    Out of an abundance of precaution, Asheville City Schools will handle all its quarantine/isolation protocols like this until further notice. 

    As always, we thank you for your support and understanding as we continue to keep our staff and students as safe and healthy as possible.  The pandemic has shown us that change is the only constant we’re facing, which is why we’re continuing to modify our safety protocols to ensure we can maintain a healthy, in-person learning environment.


    August 27, 2021 

    Good Afternoon Students, Staff, and Families,

    On behalf of our school and district leaders, I’m writing to thank you for your support this week, share a few updates and request some support. 

    We’re happy that students are back in the classroom and will continue to do everything we can to keep our students and staff safe and healthy.  I know that the start of this year is very stressful as we all continue to learn and work together, but I sincerely appreciate your support.

    SAFETY REMINDERS:

    We are very fortunate to have a strong relationship with many of our community partners who provide afterschool programs for our students. Yesterday, we were informed that one of our afterschool programs deemed several of our ACS students as close contacts to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.  Because we knew students were deemed as close contacts, our school leadership and staff worked to quickly ensure that the children who needed to be in quarantine were notified and supported. 

    However, we also know that our students participate in extracurricular activities unaffiliated with the district or one of our community partners. As we continue to see a rise in positive COVID-19 cases within our community, we ask that you continue to inform school staff if you know your child has been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, keep your child home from school and follow public health guidance to stop the spread.  Again, if your child has been in close contact to a known positive COVID case outside of school, please notify your healthcare provider and the school.  

    If your child IS NOT vaccinated and has been in close contact with someone that tested positive for COVID-19, the health department will likely tell you that your student will need to complete one of the following prior to returning to school: 

    • Complete up to 14 days of quarantine. The 14 days of quarantine begins after the last known close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual. 
    • Complete a 10-day quarantine if your child is not presenting symptoms of COVID-19 after daily at-home monitoring
    • Complete 7 days of quarantine if your child reports no symptoms during daily at-home monitoring AND your child has received results of a negative antigen or PCR/molecular test on a test taken no earlier than day 5 of their quarantine.

    If your child IS fully vaccinated and has been in close contact with someone that tested positive for COVID-19 contact tracers will inform you as to when your child can safely return to school.  

    Additionally, we continue to ask our families and staff to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Any student or staff member that has any of the following symptoms needs to stay home: 

    • Fever or chills 
    • Cough 
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
    • Fatigue 
    • Muscle or body aches 
    • Headache 
    • New loss of taste or smell 
    • Sore throat 
    • Congestion or runny nose 
    • Nausea or vomiting 
    • Diarrhea 

    We will continue to implement the mitigation strategies defined by the CDC and the Department of Public Health. The StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit, which was last updated on 8/26/2021, is our reference document to support our schools. 

    As always thank you for all you do to make our community stronger, Cougar Pride! 

    - April Dockery, Executive Director of Crisis Management and Operations


    August 25, 2021 

    Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families.  This is Ashley-Michelle Thublin, Executive Director of Communications, with a back to school safety update.

    As we begin the 2021 - 2022 school year, we wanted to let you know that Buncombe County Health and Human Services has discontinued its COVID-19 dashboard for local schools.  Instead, our district will be communicating directly with families and staff regarding COVID-19 cases associated with a certain campus or school activity. 

    Each Thursday, April Dockery, Asheville City Schools’ Executive Director of Crisis Management and Operations, will send an email to all staff and families regarding ACS’s COVID-19 cases.  Her message will include a district-wide dashboard that’s broken down by school.  The dashboard will include: 

    • New Confirmed Staff/Student Positive Cases - when the individual WAS on campus during the infectious window
    • New Confirmed Staff/Student Positive Cases- when the individual WAS NOT on campus during the infectious window
    • Total Number of Confirmed Positive Cases in Active Quarantine

    In addition to the weekly update from Mrs. Dockery, please know that if your child has been deemed as a close contact to someone that has tested positive for COVID-19, school administrators or nurses will continue to call families personally impacted as soon as possible, regardless of the day of the week.

    Additionally, if your child has NOT been deemed as a close contact but has been in the same classroom/on the same team or extracurricular activity as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be notified. 

    Parents will also be promptly notified should there ever be a cluster, which the CDC identifies as five or more confirmed cases within a 14-day period with a potential connection in time and place, on their child’s campus.  

    This change is how we will communicate positive COVID-19 cases moving forward.  

    Thank you for your grace and understanding as we work together to keep our Cougar Family safe.  Please know that we are continuing to collaborate with our local health professionals and urge all students and staff over the age of 12 to make an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they have not already done so.  You can find more information about upcoming vaccine events in our community here


    August 19, 2021

    Back to School Safety Protocols were the sole topic during today’s Special Called Meeting of the Asheville City Board of Education.  Today’s presentation can be found here.  

    A panel made up of school and district leaders discussed possible scenarios (such as: a student tests positive for COVID-19 and is able to complete their school work) and how the district would provide support while they were away.  These scenarios were first shared with staff and families as part the August 16th Back to School Update # 4.  Per previous communications, you can find additional details about Asheville City Schools’ academic response if your child is quarantined or tests positive for COVID-19, click here

    The panel also answered frequently asked questions our Board of Education has received.  Please watch the recorded meeting to hear more from our panel of experts on topics including but not limited to: 

    • What happens when an unvaccinated student has a COVID exposure outside of school?

    • Is ACS following the explicit CDC guidelines for ventilation in every classroom in the district?

    • What happens if we have to close a classroom, a school or the district? 

    • Why can’t ACS have a Hybrid Option like we did during the 2020-2021 school year?

    • Based off the current reality of our surrounding districts, why is ACS not offering a virtual school based option?

    The panel also reminded Board Members that the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit was updated yesterday, Wednesday, August 18th.  Key changes include: 

    • Instruction that includes singing, shouting, playing wind instruments, rigorous dance or exercise should be held outside if possible. If held indoors, ensure consistent mask use and 6-feet physical distancing between students (Toolkit Page 11) 

    • The list of COVID-19 symptoms has also expanded.  Per previous communications, Asheville City Schools will no longer be conducting daily symptom screenings; however, we are asking families and staff to self-monitor.  Occurrence of any of the symptoms below while a student, teacher, or staff member is at school suggests the person may be referred for diagnostic COVID-19 testing or evaluation:  

      • Fever or chills 

      • Cough 

      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 

      • Fatigue 

      • Muscle or body aches 

      • Headache 

      • New loss of taste or smell 

      • Sore throat 

      • Congestion or runny nose 

      • Nausea or vomiting 

      • Diarrhea

    Students, teachers, and staff who have symptoms of COVID-19, should stay home and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care. (Toolkit page 14) 

    In closing, thank you for your continued support of Asheville City Schools.  The pandemic has shown us that change is the only constant we’ve faced.  Please know that Asheville City Schools will continue to modify its safety protocols to ensure we can maintain a healthy, in-person learning environment.


    August 18, 2021 

    Asheville City Schools will be hosting a COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic TOMORROW, Thursday, August 19th from 9:00 AM - NOON.  In partnership with Buncombe County Health & Human Services and StarMed (a State mobile vaccine provider), the no-cost, walk-up clinic will be held under the walkway, near the main office of Montford North Star Academy located at 90 Montford Avenue.  

    The Pfizer vaccine will be available.      

    We apologize for the late notice, but when the opportunity presented itself to host a vaccine clinic prior to the first day of school, we were quick to take it - especially after our local health department shared earlier today that our county’s positivity rate is up to 8.5%.  

    Vaccinations are the “leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”  So, we’re highly encouraging all North Carolinians ages 12 and up who have not received the vaccine to make plans to attend tomorrow’s clinic.  However, if you’re unable to attend but would like to know when other upcoming vaccine events are occurring across Buncombe County, click here.

    Our hope is to continue to host more vaccination clinics this year. Once those dates have been solidified, we'll be sure to send further communication so that you can mark your calendars for this important community resource.


    August 16, 2021 

    Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families. This is Dr. Gene Freeman, Superintendent of Asheville City Schools, and the Asheville City Board of Education with an update about our safety measures and quarantine protocols for the 2021-2022 school year.

    SAFETY MEASURES: 

    As previously shared, at this time, we will not be providing universal remote learning options like we did during the 2020 - 2021 school year because the Toolkit no longer includes Options A, B and C.  Because we do not have an established virtual academy, our hope is to have as many students learning in our school buildings as possible.  With face-to-face instruction, our schools offer a safe, productive educational environment with opportunities for social-emotional support, academic support, diverse enrichment through arts and athletics as well as no-cost, nutritious meals. In order to do this, safety measures have been put in place. 

    According to Buncombe County Health and Human Services, if we require universal masking, maintain proper physical distance, and frequently wash our hands, we anticipate the number of students who have to quarantine this year will be limited.  

    Additional safety measures our district is taking include but are not limited to: 

    • Classrooms and high-touch surface areas will be cleaned daily. 
    • We have made some improvements to our air ventilation systems and are continuing to upgrade filters this school year. 
    • At least three feet of distance should be maintained between students, while staff should maintain six feet between students and other adults. 
    • When actively eating, six feet of physical distance should be maintained, and lunches will be eaten outside whenever possible.  If weather does not allow outdoor dining, assigned seating indoors will be required.  
    • Although Asheville City Schools will no longer require daily symptom screenings, we are asking families and staff to self monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Students, teachers and staff who have symptoms of COVID-19, should stay home and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and further care.
    • We encourage our staff and students over the age 12 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  Vaccinations are the “leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” so make plans to attend one of Buncombe County’s no-cost, upcoming vaccine events

    As we begin the 2021 - 2022 school year, our local health department will continue to lead our contact tracing and case investigation efforts, and their staff will determine if quarantine is required and for how long.  

    Based on current guidance, if a student tests positive for COVID-19, all other students who are close contacts will likely not have to quarantine, if they have consistently followed mask and distancing protocols.  This change from previous health recommendations was a primary reason why our Board of Education voted for universal masking for all students and staff. 

    Despite the strenuous safety measures our district is putting in place, we know that community spread is likely to impact Asheville City Schools.  Therefore, please know students and staff will be required to quarantine for the following reasons: 

    • They test positive for COVID-19
    • They have symptoms of COVID-19
    • They are deemed a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and are required to quarantine by Buncombe County Health and Human Services

    INSTRUCTION WHILE IN QUARANTINE: 

    If your child contracts COVID-19, has COVID-19 symptoms or is required to quarantine, please know our staff will: 

    • Communicate with you on an individual basis about your child’s missed instruction 
    • Work with your family to answer questions as they come up
    • Ensure your child has access to the coursework that they miss

    For additional details about our academic response if your child is quarantined or tests positive for COVID-19, click here.  Please understand these scenarios are subject to change based on revised guidance from our local health department and the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit

    Additionally, if your child needs to be out of school for four or more weeks due to medical reasons, including lingering COVID-19 symptoms or a medical condition considered high-risk for COVID-19, they may request Homebound Services.  Please contact your school for additional information about Homebound Procedures. 

    We appreciate your support and continued collaboration as we work together to safely bring students back to our campuses.  As your safety questions continue to arise, please continue to email ashley.thublin@acsgmial.net.  

    As we countdown to the first day of school, there are still several positions currently vacant across Asheville City Schools.  If you’d like to join the Cougar Family, please click here to learn more or attend our Job Fair this Wednesday, August 18th from 3:00 - 6:00 PM at the Board Room located at 85 Mountain Street.   


    August 9, 2021 

    Good Evening Students, Staff and Families.  This is Ashley-Michelle Thublin, Executive Director of Communications, with an update about our school calendar. 

    During tonight’s meeting, the Asheville City Board of Education approved an Amended 2021-2022 School Calendar.  

    The new calendar has four fewer late starts for secondary students.  This change from 16 to 12 is due to the finalization of the testing calendar and will minimize the disruption on testing days.  On days when our elementary school-based employees are driving buses for middle and high school students, staff members from the Central Office will go to the elementary schools to support our educators. 

    As a reminder, the late start allows our secondary schools protected time to fully implement a Multi-Tiered System of Support.  The late starts will be used to 

    • Provide dedicated time for staff to meet in Professional Learning Communities including but not limited to Content Teams, Vertical Planning teams, or Grade Level Teams. 
    • Allow for core problem solving/planning. 
    • Provide ongoing data analysis to improve instructional practices tied to increasing outcomes for all students. 

    PLCs are currently in place at all other schools; however, due to the complexities of the Asheville High School Master Schedule, it has been impossible for staff to meet in PLCs during the school day.  All secondary campuses will utilize the late start model because they share buses.  

    Additional information about the district’s late start plan, including the finalized 12 late starts, can be found here.  In addition to the fewer late starts, the 2021-2022 calendar has one additional Optional Teacher Workday.  It will be on June 10, 2022. 

    Thank you for your continued support.  And, if you have any questions about the calendar changes, please let me know. 


    August 2, 2021 

    Good Evening Students, Staff and Families.  This is Ashley-Michelle Thublin, Executive Director of Communications, with a Back to School Update.  

    Last week, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updated its StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit

    Following many meetings with school and district-based leaders as well as discussions with Buncombe County Health and Human Services to discuss how COVID-19 is impacting our local community, the Asheville City Board of Education has determined that, at this time: 

    •  All Pre-K thru 12th Graders will be required to wear face coverings consistently while inside during the school day regardless of a student’s vaccination status.  
      • On Wednesday, July 28th, Buncombe County Health and Human Services shared that about 41% of Buncombe County 12 to 17-year-olds have received the first dose of the vaccine.  35% are fully vaccinated.  
    • All staff, both school-based and district-wide support positions, will be required to wear face coverings consistently while inside during the school day regardless of their vaccination status.  
    • In alignment with the Toolkit and current CDC recommendations, all students, Pre-K thru 12th Grade, will be required to wear face coverings on school buses
    • Students and staff will NOT be required to wear face coverings when they are outside for recess, PE or when learning in an outdoor classroom.  However, student-athletes will be required to wear face coverings when they are not actively engaged in rigorous physical activity, regardless of whether their sporting event is taking place indoors or outside. 

    Additionally, please know that our schools will be having Meet the Teacher events prior to the 2021-2022 school year; however, ACS will NOT be hosting large, school-wide, indoor gatherings, as they do not allow for proper social distancing. School leaders are organizing Meet the Teacher events based on their space and school community.  More information will be coming directly from your child’s school. 

    These decisions fall in alignment with recommendations made by staff during tonight’s Board of Education meeting.  A copy of the district’s Back to School Safety Protocols presentation can be found here

    Furthermore, please know the district has also updated its Questions & Answer Page to reflect these updates and will share more information as it becomes available.  As your questions arise, please continue to email me at ashley.thublin@acsgmail.net.   And, should you have any specific questions about your child's school, please feel free to reach out to their principal directly.  

    The 2021-2022 school year begins in less than three weeks.  As we countdown the days until August 23rd, you can be sure Asheville City Schools continues to have a strong focus on implementing health and safety measures that will best support our students and staff.  

    In alignment with the Toolkit and our local health experts, we know and understand that “vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Therefore, if you are over the age of 12 and have not yet received your COVID-19 vaccine, we highly encourage you to attend one of Buncombe County’s no-cost, upcoming vaccine events.  

    Have a great night, and thank you for your continued support of Asheville City Schools.  Together, the Cougar Family is taking a stand to stop the spread!


    July 12, 2021 

    Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families. This is Ashley-Michelle Thublin, Executive Director of Communications, with an update about next school year. 

    During a recent meeting, the Asheville City Board of Education unanimously approved beginning the 2021 - 2022 school year under Plan A.  This means all students, Pre-K thru 12th Grade, will receive in-person, direct instruction from their classroom teachers five days a week beginning Monday, August 23rd. 

    Asheville City Schools will continue to have a strong focus on implementing health and safety measures for our students and staff.  We will continue to collaborate with Buncombe County Health and Human Services as well as follow all guidance from Governor Cooper and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.  

    In making our return to learn plans, Asheville City Schools is closely following the #StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit, which was last updated on June 11th.  We anticipate that the Toolkit will be updated later this month, which will give us further direction as we start our upcoming school year.  

    Specific details about Plan A begin on page 6 of the Toolkit linked above.  As these guidelines are updated at the state level, ACS will make adjustments.

    The district has also created this Question & Answer Page and will share more information as it becomes available; however, should you have any specific questions about your child’s school, please reach out to their principal directly. 

    Thank you for your continued support of Asheville City Schools.  We hope you’re enjoying this time away but are already counting down the days until we’ll have our entire Cougar Family together again.