In May, the North Carolina General Assembly amended 2020-2021 calendars for all public school districts across the state. According to Senate Bill 704, all districts must now:
- Have a school calendar that remains at 215 days total.
- Increase the number of instructional hours their students receive by five days. This means all calendars must now consist of either 1,055 hours or 190 days.
- Ensure their new calendar includes five remote instructional days.
- Name August 17, 2020 as their first day of school.
- End on or before June 11, 2021.
Of course, Asheville City Schools is included in this new mandate; therefore our first day of the 2020-2021 school year will be Monday, August 17th.
Asheville City Schools has decided to move from Plan B to Plan C, at least through the first nine weeks. This means our schools will start on August 17th, with at-home remote instruction for all students Kindergarten - 12th Grade.
Students will be assigned classes with students and teachers from their home campus. Utilizing a half-day online schedule, they will attend school remotely and simultaneously with their peers each morning. In the afternoon, students will be able to speak with teachers for one-on-one support as well as complete independent assignments. Daily attendance will be taken, and student grading expectations will look similar to in-person expectations.
We have the best staff, and we want to provide them with the best resources in the safest environment possible.
Since the spring, we have received state and local guidance as well as implemented safety protocols that permit staff to work on campus. Additionally, we have worked with our local health department on determining which plan to proceed with as well as best practices on reporting any safety concerns.
Through parent and staff surveys, it was shared that students are more engaged when they are receiving whole class sessions from a classroom setting.
Teachers’ classrooms are equipped with appropriate technology, manipulatives, specialized equipment, lab equipment, and other teaching resources to effectively engage remotely.
Our technology and devices on school campuses can receive appropriate maintenance and updates as needed.
As a way to stay connected even while under an all remote learning model, every member of our Student Support Services Department is setting up their very own "virtual office." A one-stop support shop, each person's virtual office will provide students and families with resources like mindfulness exercises, growth mindset tips, scholarship opportunities as well as give you a chance to schedule virtual meetings. To learn more, watch this short video.
Students with IEPs will receive services based on the child’s unique learning style and ACS’s reopening plan. Addendum meetings will be scheduled either in person or virtually, as needed, to review and revise the IEP- to plan for the child’s programming. Addendum IEP meetings will be scheduled to review the goals, services and supports needed as a result of the district’s reopening plan.
Section 504 plans will be reviewed to ensure accommodations can be provided in line with remote learning.
Yes, the ACS Preschool programs will operate in-person at a reduced capacity beginning on August 17th. Director of Preschool Programs, Susanna Smith, will be sharing additional information with enrolled preschool families soon.
The Asheville High School Childcare Center has not been affiliated with the Asheville City Schools Preschool Program although they both operate under appropriate state childcare/preschool guidelines. The childcare center has been an instructional class under the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. It is a teaching class where high school students have opportunities to learn about the early childhood education field. Unfortunately, without high school students attending school face-to-face, the AHS Childcare class cannot be funded and operate in its current format. Funding is based on high school students participating in class through this CTE program.
Despite these challenges, Asheville City Schools is committed to the families of the Asheville High School Childcare Center. All impacted families received communication detailing an opportunity to join the district’s preschool program on the campus of Asheville Primary School.
Our School Nutrition Department is committed to supporting our families by continuing to serve healthy meals to your children. Due to USDA restriction, all options may not be available once the new school year begins. But, our outstanding staff will continue to serve meals --- even if it is in an altered capacity.
No. Our Technology Department is dedicated to ensuring all students begin the 2020-2021 school year with a device that will allow them to successfully complete remote learning. There is no need for your family to buy a separate computer/tablet for your child.
Yes, dual enrollment courses with AB Tech will occur as scheduled.
Asheville City Schools will be utilizing the expertise of our teaches to successfully execute remote-learning. A separate platform will not be required, as our educators will be teaching their students directly through both live, computer-based instruction, small group guidance as well as independent at-home learning.
Answer: We understand many parents across our district must return to their place of business, which is complicated, as Asheville City Schools will begin the 2020-2021 school year with remote instruction. If you are having trouble searching for childcare, Buncombe County Partnership for Children has put together this helpful map of all licensed child care centers across our county. Additionally, please review these supportive community resources compiled by United Way.
Additionally, we've learned the Y will offer half-day afternoon programs at the Asheville YMCA and the Reuter Family YMCA from 1:30-5:30 p.m. The program will include recreation and physical activity. The cost is $95/week per child for non-YMCA members and $70/week for Y members. Financial assistance is available.
Asheville City Schools understands there’s a big difference between being a parent and being a full-time educator. We are currently developing resources that will support you in this very difficult task.
Yes, in accordance with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Asheville City Schools will carry out daily health screenings.
If there is a positive diagnosis amongst one of our students or staff members, we will notify the Buncombe County Health and Human Services (as required by NCGS § 130A-136) and work with them to follow their procedures such as contact tracing.
Asheville City Schools will follow the directions shared by Buncombe County Health and Human Service to carry out their recommendations for contacting students, staff and families as well as their specific cleaning protocols.
We will consult with our local health department to determine whether they believe closing a classroom or an entire campus is required. Please take note that there may be no need to close the school if BCHHS determines that close contacts are excluded and there is sufficient space to continue normal operations.
Both Governor Cooper and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services have stated that masks or face coverings are required for students, staff and any other visitors to the schools. There are certain exceptions for those who are medically unable to wear a mask. If a student refuses to wear a mask we will work with the student and family to educate about the requirement and the importance of face coverings in reducing the spread of the virus. As a last resort, we may have to exclude a student from school. In that case, we would ensure that the student has an opportunity to continue receiving their instruction remotely.
Traditionally, students receive their schedules by the second week of August. Consistent with our traditional timeline, students will know which classes they are taking when they receive their schedule. Additionally, that is also when they will learn whether one or more of their classes includes optional, in-person lab hours that will occur on their middle or high school’s campus.
Asheville City Schools will be cancelling all facility rentals that involve the use of any of our buildings effective Monday, March 16th at 8:00 AM.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus strain that has only spread in people since December 2019. Health experts are concerned because little is known about this new virus.
Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (similar to a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. So far, deaths have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions.
People who have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, cough and shortness of breath. The virus may be transmitted by being in close proximity with droplet contact (coughing, sneezing, etc.) from an infected person.
Health experts are still learning the details. Currently it is thought to spread:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Students and staff should stay home when they are sick. If students or staff members have a fever, they should stay home until they are fever-free.
- Avoid other people who are sick.
- Everyone - students, staff, school volunteers and visitors - should wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (about as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice). We will be providing increased emphasis on hand washing in our schools. The CDC says the washing of hands is the first line of defense. In fact, one of our sources states that washing your hands at least five times a day could reduce the likelihood of contracting a respiratory infection by around 15 to 20%.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your arm. The CDC is not advising the wearing of masks.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
- Parents are reminded to consult their physician if they have any concerns.
- Residents who return from recent international travel with history of travel to affected areas and become ill with respiratory signs and symptoms such as fever and cough should report their travel history to any health professional or medical facility, when they visit.
As adults, it’s important we remain calm with our actions and words, and share factual information. Sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is critical. One of the ways we can protect our community from illness is to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading.
Here are some resources you may use to talk about the coronavirus with students:
This is an evolving situation. Stay up to date by consulting the following webpages: