As part of Asheville City Schools’ continued effort to create open lines of communication, our goal is to make it easier and more efficient for students, staff, families and community members to request public information.
The district responds to requests for public records in accordance with North Carolina’s Open Government Guide. Our Executive Director of Communications, Ashley-Michelle Thublin, handles all requests, making sure the right person is contacted and that a response is made as promptly as possible.
If you are a member of our Cougar Family or media outlet wishing to request an interview or gather additional information, please email email@example.com. Please allow us adequate time to review and facilitate this request, and please be aware that the public records law does not require Asheville City Schools to do research, analyze data, or create a record that does not currently exist.
Below you will find recent media requests as well as Asheville City Schools’ responses.
August 2, 2021 - The Mountain Xpress
I'd like to request all emails and documents that were provided to NCDPI as part of the review of school food service operations.
RESPONSE:In response to your request:You will find all documents provided to DPI as part of their review (minus those which, according to our legal counsel, should not be shared as they are confidential attorney-client communications or those which contain confidential personnel information) here.Additionally, in order to be as thorough as possible, you will find all emails Asheville City Schools' Former Director of School Nutrition sent or received from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction from August 1st, 2021 - her last day. They can be accessed here.Please let me know if you have any questions.
July 30, 2021 - The Citizen-Times, WLOS
Could I please get a comment as soon as possible about the district’s thoughts on Gov. Cooper suggesting schools mandate masks in the fall?
The Asheville City Board of Education has its next meeting on Monday, August 2nd. “Back to School Safety Updates” is an item on the agenda. Following the meeting, I’d be happy to send additional information to you (as well as all our local media partners) after it's been shared with staff & families.
July 27, 2021 - The Citizen-Times
Good Morning,As shared with you via text, I've had the chance to read this morning's piece, and the headline and following paragraphs, do not reflect the information I shared with you yesterday.As part of my response, I confirmed that "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," "in alignment with the Toolkit, all students, Pre-K thru 12th Grade, will be required to wear face coverings on school buses," and that all additional updates "will first be provided to Asheville City Schools staff, students and families, then shared with our local media partners and greater school community."Stacia Harris is the expert on all things Buncombe County Schools, and I would never claim to speak for her district; however, at least for Asheville City Schools, nowhere did I say that "the decision to require masks is a done deal for now." Therefore, I would ask that you please change your piece to reflect what was shared by my school district.I would like to get this resolved as soon as possible. So, certainly, feel free to call me if you have any questions.Sincerely, Ashley-Michelle Thublin
July 26, 2021 - The Citizen-Times
I’m looking into plans for next school year in terms of COVID precautions.
School and district-based administrators are currently reviewing the Toolkit’s key changes and have a meeting set up with Buncombe County Health and Human Services later this week. We will provide additional insight into how this will impact our district's back-to-school protocols and procedures as they become available. And, we anticipate that Return to Learn Safety Protocols will be an agenda item during the Asheville City Board of Eduction’s August 2nd Work Session.
However, at this time, we know that in alignment with our end of the year Return to Learn Updates, 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.
In alignment with the Toolkit, all students, Pre-K thru 12th Grade, will be required to wear face coverings on school buses.
Regarding vaccines…Asheville City Schools supports our health department in sharing vaccine appointment information. And, as a resource for our students, staff and families, the district has hosted two vaccine clinics, in which all North Carolinians ages 12+ were invited to attend. However, at this time, Asheville City Schools is NOT requiring our students or staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Additional information about the vaccines that are required can be found in Board Policy 4110.
Asheville City’s first day of the 2021-2022 school year will be Monday, August 23rd. As we look ahead to a safe and healthy school year, we appreciate hearing the thoughts and feelings of our parents, staff and community members. We invite our Cougar Family to share their feedback with April Dockery, our Executive Director of Crisis Management and Operations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 21, 2021 - WLOS
I saw that NCDHHS released new guidance that recommends school districts still require masks for grades K-8, and for high schoolers who are unvaccinated. Just wanted to see if Asheville City Schools is planning on following this guidance?
Like all districts across North Carolina, Asheville City Schools received access to the updated Toolkit this afternoon around 2:00 PM. At this time, we are currently reviewing its key changes and will provide additional insight into how this will impact our district's back to school protocols and procedures as they become available. All updates will first be provided to Asheville City Schools staff, students and families, then shared with our local media partners and greater school community. I would be more than happy to keep you updated as the district moves forward.
July 19, 2021 - AVL Watchdog
Requesting official comment on several vax questions as the new school year approaches:
— What is the ACS policy on COVID-19 vaccinations?
— Now that the vaccines are available to anyone age 12 and older, will ACS high-school students, faculty, staff, and administrators be required to be vaccinated before school starts for the fall?
— Has the ACS attorney issued an opinion on whether the system can require COVID-19 vaccinations? What about other vaccinations, like measles, polio, meningococcal, etc?
RESPONSE:Asheville City Schools supports our health department in sharing vaccine appointment information. And, as a resource for our students, staff and families, the district has hosted two vaccine clinics, in which all North Carolinians ages 12+ were invited to attend. However, at this time, Asheville City Schools is NOT requiring our students or staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Additional information about the vaccines that are required can be found in Board Policy 4110.July 15, 2021 - The Citizen-TimesREQUEST:I’m writing this afternoon about the recent construction bid on the classroom replacement for Asheville High. Got any background on why the construction is happening?RESPONSE:I spoke with my Maintenance Director, Don Simms, and he explained it is indeed a joint project with Asheville City Schools & Buncombe County, as it’s funded through the School Capital Funds Commission. It’s replacing the building originally constructed by students in 1949. We appreciate our Buncombe County Commissioners for ensuring future Cougars have a safe educational environment in which they can learn, discover & thrive.July 7, 2021 - The Citizen-Times
I’m looking to request suspension records for the past five years (names omitted of course), should I file that formal request with you or go through the city?
Above and beyond the information provided for each campus as part of its DPI School Report Card, I am not aware of Asheville City School keeping records of each suspension. Per public records law G.S. § 132-6.2(e), a public agency need not “respond to a request for a copy of a public record by creating or compiling a record that does not exist.” Such a request would require the creation of new records that do not otherwise exist. Therefore, I am not able to fulfill your request.
July 6, 2021 - News Alert to Local Media PartnersAsheville City Schools is hosting a summer celebration this Friday, July 9th from 5:00 - 7:00 PM in the green space beside the Wesley Grant Center on Livingston Street.
Complete with a bouncy house, Kona Ice, an on-site DJ, door prizes and Asheville Play Adventure’s pop-up playground, it’ll be a FREE community event for the whole family. Backpacks will even be given away to school-aged students.
Plus, the Preschool Program will have enrollment information available, as we’re currently offering no-cost, income-based slots for three and four-year-olds who live within our district.
July 1, 2021 - News Alert to Local Media PartnersIn celebration of the July 4th holiday, Asheville City Schools will be closed on Monday, July 5th.
This day off includes both our hardworking School Nutrition and Transportation Departments. Therefore, we will NOT be serving meals at either our school or community-based meal distribution sites on Monday, July 5th. Instead, students will be able to pick up Monday’s meal this Friday, July 2nd.