Return to Headlines

Asheville City Schools' COVID-19 Updates

More information about Asheville City Schools' preparedness is available here

April 1, 2020 

Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families. This is Bobbie Short, Asheville City Schools.

By now, you may have seen news reports and have questions about the student testing that could occur if we are indeed able to return on May 18th.

Please know that we are continuing to collaborate with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and while there are still many unanswered questions, for today, we can tell you the State Board of Education has unanimously approved the submission of a one-year waiver of federal student assessments. This means, for this school year, there will be no End of Grade exams for elementary and middle schools and no End of Course exams at the high school level. We are waiting on confirmation from the State about other accountability measures and will continue to keep you informed.

Also, the district has been working with Young Transportation and other companies to help recover the dollars that families invested in their child’s school related field trips. We are pleased to announce that, in most cases, we have recovered the majority of refunds for in-state and out-of-state trips. Please know that there are several out of country field trips that we are still working on. Your school will be in touch with you regarding these upcoming refunds.

Thank you for your continued support during these times of uncertainty. Please know that we appreciate your flexibility as we grow and thrive despite these challenges. 

March 31, 2020 @ 4:30 PM 

Good Afternoon Elementary School Families.  This is Bobbie Short, Asheville City Schools. 

If you were unable to pick-up your child’s individualized at-home learning materials during last week’s packet pick-up, please know that you have several more opportunities to do so this week! 

In fact, our Curriculum and Instruction Department is partnering with our School Nutrition Department so that you can pick up their learning packet, if you have not already done so, at the same time you will be able to access our Food Distribution Sites. 

Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, April 1st through Friday, April 3rd, drive-thru sites will be set up from 1:00 - 3:00 PM for you to receive your next-wave of at-home learning packets while picking up a free meal for your child.   

If your child attends Hall Fletcher, Asheville Primary or Vance Elementary, your packet pick-up location will be Hall Fletcher Elementary School located at 60 Ridgelawn Road. 

If your child attends Isaac Dickson, Claxton or Ira B. Jones, your packet pick-up location will be Isaac Dickson Elementary School located at 125 Hill Street. 

Additionally, as a reminder, if you would prefer to access this content online as opposed to picking up a packet, please visit the district COVID-19 webpage and select “At-Home Learning Packets” to download learning materials for your child’s particular grade and specials. 

Once again, thank you for cooperating with us and supporting your child as we all learn and adjust to this situation.

March 31, 2020 @10:15 AM 

Good Afternoon Seniors, Staff and Families.  This is Bobbie Short, Asheville City Schools. 

By now, you may have seen news reports and have questions about the State Board of Education’s decision for the Class of 2020. 

Please know that we are continuing to collaborate with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and while there are still many unanswered questions, for today, we can tell you: 

  • If your child is a high school Senior and was passing their class as of Friday, March 13th - which was the district’s last day of in person instruction- your child has passed the class.  
  • Transcripts for our 12th Graders will indicate they have received a passing grade for each class as opposed to a traditional number.  
  • All fall semester and year long classes will factor into our 12 Graders’ GPA.  Spring semester courses will not factor into their GPA.
  • Seniors dually-enrolled in courses through AB Tech or UNC Asheville will follow the grading policy of the institution for the course in which they are enrolled. 
  • Advanced Placement exams will still take place remotely and teachers will continue to prepare students for these exams. Further information about AP examinations will be communicated to students enrolled in those courses.
  • Asheville City Schools teachers will continue to provide all students with at-home learning assignments.

If your child is a Senior and was failing one or more of their classes on March 13th, they will not be receiving credit for that class.  However, our goal, of course, is for all students to graduate.  Therefore, their teacher will be providing remote learning opportunities to allow students to improve their grade to a passing mark. If your child falls into that category, their teacher will be in touch with you soon. 

Now, for a bit of a good news!  I’m excited to officially announce that we will be holding a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 at our beautiful athletic field located on the high school’s campus.  We don’t have a confirmed date as of yet, but we will be establishing one as we learn more about school closings and the coronavirus’ continued impact on our community. Also, although we won’t be able to have a prom, I did want to let our Class of 2020 know that we will be having a Senior Celebration Day before you graduate.  The date of that events is also yet to be determined. 

Thank you for your continued support during these times of uncertainty.  Please know that we appreciate your flexibility as we grow and thrive despite these challenges.  Seniors, we miss you and are so proud of you.

March 30, 2020 

Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families. This is Bobbie Short, Asheville City Schools, with an important update about Spring Break. 

While vacation plans have certainly changed, please know that the following decision was made with the mental health and well-being of our Asheville City Schools Family at its core.  We know you’ve been working extremely hard and applaud your efforts to ensure at-home learning is successful, but we’re all needing a break. 

Therefore, I’m excited to announce that yes; we will be honoring our scheduled Spring Break Holiday on April 6th - 13th to allow our students, families and district employees a much deserved opportunity to relax, recharge and refocus.  With our at-home learning platforms taking place, it is like we have really opened school for a second time this school year. Parents, thank you for the teaching/learning that has been taking place at home! ACS staff, thank you for the incredible job we all have been doing in providing meaningful learning! 

Please know that, thanks to our dedicated School Nutrition Department, all times and locations for our School Distribution Sites will remain the same.  However, please take note that our staff members will be providing double meals next Thursday, April 9th. This will allow our dedicated staff members to take the day off while still ensuring our families have both breakfast and lunch for Friday, April 10th. 

Finally, while we are certainly encouraging our families to unplug and enjoy, please know that our Curriculum and Instruction Department will be adding optional, fun engagement resources to our COVID-19 website.  Again, these are optional but can be accessed should your family wish to virtually explore museums, learn new games or participate in a few arts and crafts projects while the district is on Spring Break.

 

March 27, 2020 

Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families.  This is Ashley-Michelle Thublin, Executive Director of Communications for Asheville City Schools. 

We’ve officially completed the second week of at-home learning - hooray!  Thank you to all our parents for working so hard to partner with our dedicated teachers and staff to ensure your child’s distance learning continues to be successful. We so appreciate you!  

Additionally, we wanted to let you know that, after hearing your feedback, we’re updating the times of our drive-thru sites.  Starting Monday, March 30th, our Isaac Dickson Elementary School and Hall Fletcher Elementary School drive-thru meal sites will be open from 1:00 - 3:00 PM.  All other locations and times for our Food Distribution Sites will remain the same. 

Plus, after many requests, our Technology Department is bringing back Chromebook Distribution Sites.  They will coincide with next week’s drive-thru meal sites at Isaac Dickson and Hall Fletcher, which means our technicians will be on site at both locations from 1:00 - 3:00 PM.   This will be the perfect opportunity should your family need to replace a broken device for a loaner. 

Please note: 

  • There will be no need to get out of your car!  Instead, technicians will be able to swap your broken device for a loaner through your car’s window. 
  • Broken devices must be turned in to receive a loaner. 
  • Chromebook Support Locations are only for device swaps or to give our 3rd - 12th Graders a district-provided device if they have not already taken one home. 
  • Should you need additional Tech Support, please enter a new request at bit.ly/student-tech-help 

Once again, thank you for your cooperation, support, and flexibility as we work through these changes together.  Truly, we have a heightened level of gratitude for our families and want to say, thank you.  We see how hard you’re working. We hear you, and we are trying our best to support you and your family any and every way we can. 

March 25, 2020 

Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families.  This is Bobbie Short, Asheville City Schools. 

As you’ve probably heard from Buncombe County Government, the city and county will be carrying out a stay home, stay safe ordinance beginning tomorrow, Thursday, March 26th at 8:00 PM to further minimize the spread of the coronavirus across Asheville. 

Our local leaders have stressed that we should not leave home unless it’s essential. 

Please understand that they have deemed our educational services as essential.  This includes our School Nutrition Sites. We will continue both our grab and go and drive-thru sites throughout Asheville each weekday.  Additionally, our educators will have the ability to continue to deliver high-quality, at-home learning, and our families will continue to have the capability to travel to or from one of our schools to receive distance-learning packets and materials as well as other related services. 

Students, per the stay home, stay safe ordinance, meeting up with your friends is not essential.  Therefore, I’m once again urging you to practice social distancing and use social media to stay connected.  You may be out of our sight, but please know your safety is always on our minds. By staying home, you’re making the right decision to support our community as a whole. 

Once again, please know that we will continue to seek guidance from the Governor’s Office, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and Buncombe County Health and Human Service and will continue to update you as we learn more.  

Thank you for your flexibility during this time of uncertainty and for doing all you can to help your student be successful.

March 23, 2020 

Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families. This is Bobbie Short, Asheville City Schools.  

During today’s press conference, Governor Roy Cooper announced all public schools across North Carolina will remain closed through Friday, May 15th.  This, of course, includes Asheville City Schools.   

As a result, please know: 

  • Along with our dedicated teachers, the Curriculum and Instruction Department will continue to facilitate at-home learning.  Our goal is to provide as much remote learning as possible as we strive to provide real connections with Asheville City Schools students and families even while our school buildings are closed.  As you know, elementary schoolers received two-week packets before leaving on March 13th. Additionally, 3rd - 5th Graders as well as our secondary students have their district-provided devices to access e-Learning opportunities.  We will be sending follow-up information specifically addressing what at-home learning will look like following this week. 
  • Our Food Distribution Sites will continue to provide meals for any student 18 and under.  As a reminder, our stops include 11:30 AM - NOON at Herb Watts Park, 12:15 - 12:45 PM at the Wesley Grant Center and 1:00 - 1:30 PM at Walton Street Park.  Additionally, yellow buses are delivering meals to the community centers at Pisgah View Apartments, Hillcrest Apartments and Klondyke Apartments from 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM.  Hall Fletcher Elementary School and Isaac Dickson Elementary School offer drive-thru options should families prefer a grab and go meal. Both sites are open from 2:00 - 4:00 PM. 
  • We anticipate returning to school on Monday, May 18 . However, we understand the severity of the coronavirus may impact this return date.  

We know the Governor’s announcement is causing many questions to arise, but echoing his sentiment, Asheville City Schools isn’t ready to give up on this school year yet!  Please know we will continue to seek guidance from the Governor’s Office, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and Buncombe County Health and Human Service and will continue to offer frequent updates as we learn more.  

Once again, thank you for cooperating with us and supporting your child as we all learn and adjust to this new situation.

March 20, 2020 

Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families.  This is Bobbie Short, Asheville City Schools. 

We know this has been an unprecedented week for our school community, but I’m pleased to say we’ve officially made it through our first week of at-home learning.  You’ve each received phone calls from either Sarah Cain, the Director of Elementary Education, or Laura Parks, the Director of Secondary Education, giving further details about your child’s at-home learning and the continued efforts our educators are making to have this be as smooth of a transition as possible.  To all our parents who are trying to keep up at work while trying you keep your child focused on their studies while also teaching them the meaning of social distancing, thank you! You are doing a terrific job. Please know we are here to support you. 

This week, our School Nutrition Department served nearly 3,500 meals, and our hardworking staff members are looking forward to serving even more - always with a smile - next week.  As a reminder, we’ve slightly adjusted our Livingston Stops to include 11:30 AM - NOON at Herb Watts Park, 12:15 - 12:45 PM at the Wesley Grant Center and 1:00 - 1:30 PM at Walton Street Park.  Additionally, yellow buses are delivering meals to the community centers at Pisgah View Apartments, Hillcrest Apartments and Klondyke Apartments from 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM.  And, after hearing from families on our School Nutrition Hotline, I’m excited to announce that we’re adding another drive-thru site.  Starting Monday, March 23rd Hall Fletcher Elementary School will join Isaac Dickson Elementary School in offering drive-thru options should families prefer a grab and go meal.  Both sites will be open from 2:00 - 4:00 PM. 

Finally, during Thursday’s COVID-19 press conference, Governor Cooper said students will “likely be out of school for a longer period of time.”  We are currently gathering more information and are unclear as to how long our district will be closed.  However, please know our Curriculum and Instruction Department is continuing to work alongside our teachers to determine what an extended our at-home learning may look like.  Please know that we’re diligently working to keep you informed and will continue to provide you with updates as we learn more from the Governor’s Office, Buncombe County Health and Human Services as well as the Centers for Disease Control

Thank you for doing what it takes to stay healthy as we grow together.  Even if it never shows up on a test score, this is some of the most important learning we will ever do.

March 18, 2020 

Now that we’re finishing up day two of at-home learning, we’ve heard from a few of you that you’ve had slight mishaps with your district provided device.

After hearing quite a few requests, I’m pleased to share with you that Asheville City Schools will be opening three Chromebook Support Locations for all students and staff members both tomorrow, Thursday, March 19th and Friday, March 20th. This will be the perfect opportunity should your family need to replace a broken device for a loaner.

Our technicians will be at the main entrance of Ira B. Jones Elementary School from 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM, the main entrance of Asheville Middle School from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM as well as the rear entrance of Vance Elementary School, which is accessible by Clinton Avenue, from 2:00 - 4:00 PM.

Please note:

  • There will be no need to get out of your car! Instead, technicians will be able to swap your broken device for a loaner through your car’s window.
  • Broken devices must be turned in to receive a loaner.
  • Chromebook Support Locations are for device swaps only.
  • However, should you need additional Tech Support, please enter a new request at bit.ly/student-tech-help

Additionally, if you are an Asheville High or SILSA student, please know that, at this time, you may continue to trade broken devices for loaners in the Asheville High School Media Center.

Once again, thank you for cooperating with us and supporting your child as we all learn and adjust to this new situation.

March 17, 2020 

Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families.  This is Bobbie Short, Asheville City Schools. 

As a reminder, if your child is in elementary school, and you were unable to pick up their at-home packet and device for 3rd - 5th Graders, our elementary campuses will be open one more day - tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18th from 12:30 - 5:30 PM.  After tomorrow, we will work directly with families to ensure devices are in each student’s hands.

Regarding our breakfast and lunch services, we began our Food Distribution Sites today. In fact, we served over 700 meals and are looking forward to seeing even more families tomorrow!  As a reminder, Asheville City Schools is delivering meals to the community centers at Pisgah View Apartments, Hillcrest Apartments, Klondyke Apartments and the Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center from 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM.  Additionally, Isaac Dickson Elementary School has a drive-thru option should families prefer a grab and go meal. Isaac Dickson’s site is open from 2:00 - 4:00 PM.  

Finally, we recognize the difficulty that our school closures may be presenting for your families.  We want to reiterate that the goal of our school closures is to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.  While there are still public spaces open and available, including malls, parks and movie theatres we are sincerely asking parents to strongly consider social distancing and limiting the amount of time your child is away from home.  According to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, at this time, the best way to stop the spread of the coronavirus is to limit exposure to others.

I also want to remind students that they are to be actively engaged in the learning opportunities and assignments offered through Canvas and the elementary packets.  It is an expectation that students spend part of each day in meaningful learning activities. Parents, I want to encourage you to set aside scheduled time each day for students to be actively engaged in their at-home learning.  

We know these are unprecedented times, and questions will continue to arise.  Please know that we’re diligently working to keep you informed and will provide you with additional updates as we learn more from the Governor’s Office, Buncombe County Health and Human Services as well as the Centers for Disease Control

 

March 16, 2020 

As a reminder, tomorrow begins our first day of at-home learning for students in Pre-K through 12th Grade.  Elementary schoolers should begin working on their take-home packets, while our secondary students should start their Canvas modules on their district-provided devices.  Tomorrow is a workday for ACS staff members.  

 

If your child is in elementary school, and you were unable to pick up their at-home packet and device for 3rd - 5th Graders, our elementary campuses will be open tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17th from 9:30 AM - 2:30 PM as well as Wednesday, March 18th from 12:30 - 5:30 PM.  After Wednesday, March 18th, we will work directly with families to ensure devices are in each student’s hands.

 

Regarding our breakfast and lunch services, if your child would like to participate in our meal service, please know that it also begins tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17th.  Asheville City Schools will be delivering meals to the community centers at Pisgah View Apartments, Hillcrest Apartments, Klondyke Apartments and the Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center from 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM.  Additionally, Isaac Dickson Elementary School will have a drive-thru option should families prefer a grab and go meal. Isaac Dickson’s site will be open from 2:00 - 4:00 PM. Our bus drivers and school nutrition employees will be delivering hot lunches each day, with the following day’s breakfast included in the packaged meal.

 

We understand questions or concerns may come up during this time.  Please know we are here to support each of our students. Our Asheville City Schools COVID-19 Hotline is (828) 350-7000. Additional extensions include: 

  • ACADEMIC SUPPORT:  If you have questions about at-home assignments, please call (828) 350-6175. 
  • TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT:  If you need device guidance or have questions about internet connectivity, please call (828) 350-6181. Students can also submit tech help requests at the following link: bit.ly/student-tech-help
  • FOOD/NUTRITION:  If your student has special dietary needs or you’d like to learn more about our food distribution sites, please call (828) 350-6189. 
  • STUDENT SERVICES:  If your student needs additional support - mental health, school counselors, social workers - please call (828) 350-6133. 

We know these are unprecedented times, and questions will continue to arise.  Please know that we’re diligently working to keep you informed and will provide you with additional updates as we learn more from the Governor’s Office, Buncombe County Health and Human Services as well as the Centers for Disease Control. 

March 15, 2020 

Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families.  This is Bobbie Short, Asheville City Schools.

As a reminder, Asheville City Schools are closed for all students for the next two weeks beginning tomorrow, Monday, March 16th. It will be an Optional Workday for staff. 

From 9:30 AM - 2:30 PM, all families will be able to drop by their child’s school to pick up any items that may have been left on campus.

Elementary-aged families, if your child was absent on Friday, tomorrow would be the ideal time to pick up  your child’s at-home learning packet. 

Additionally, in Friday’s email, we shared 3rd-5th Graders would be receiving their at-home devices tomorrow.  If your family would like to pick you your child’s laptop, staff will be available tomorrow to facilitate the pick up.  Devices can be used for extended at-home learning.

 Thank you for your continued support during this unprecedented time!  We will continue to keep you informed.

March 14, 2020 

Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families.  This is Bobbie Short, Interim Superintendent. 

Governor Cooper has proactively made the decision to close all public school districts across the state beginning this Monday, March 16th - Monday, March 30th. 

Therefore, we will be adjusting our 2019-2020 calendar to include the Governor’s decision as well as the following changes: 

  • Monday, March 16th will be an Optional Workday for our staff.  The Optional Workday will give our teachers additional support as they continue to prepare for an extended period of at-home learning.
  • Our Food Distribution Sites will officially open on Tuesday, March 17th.  We will be sending follow-up information concerning these sites. 
  • At-home learning will begin on Tuesday, March 17th - Monday, March 30th.  Beginning this upcoming Tuesday, elementary students should use their at-home learning packets, while secondary students should use their district-provided device to complete assignments through Canvas.  
  • We anticipate returning to school on Tuesday, March 31 . However, we understand the severity of the coronavirus may impact this return date.  

We will, of course, continue to work closely with Buncombe County Health and Human Services and are committed to keeping you informed. 

These are unprecedented times, but please know the health, safety and education of our students remains our ultimate focus in every decision we make. 

March 13, 2020 

Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families.  This is Bobbie Short, Interim Superintendent. 

Please know that Asheville City Schools continues to work on our proactive plan to support at-home learning should we receive an order to close.  

As of this afternoon, both the Governor and Buncombe County Health and Human Services, who are the local medical experts we’re taking guidance from, have advised schools to remain open at this time. 

Although the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recommended that organizers of events with more than 100 people should cancel, postpone or modify these events, this does not include schools.  As shared in today’s guidance by our local health department, closing schools and childcare centers now is unlikely to stop the spread of illness while causing serious disruption for families, schools, childcare centers, and healthcare workers. It may also increase the risk of older adults who care for grandchildren becoming infected.  

AT-HOME LEARNING:  

Our staff continues to enhance at-home learning preparations.  Elementary School Families, please know that our at-home learning packets were distributed to your child this afternoon.  These packets are for continued learning at home once our schools close. Therefore, please hold off on completing these packets until further guidance is given. 

Families of all 3rd - 5th Graders, please know your child will be receiving a take-home device, like a Chromebook, iPad or laptop on Monday, March 16th.  Students will be responsible for these devices, for charging them each night and bringing them to school fully charged each day. Please assist your child in this process. 

As previously shared, all 6th - 12th Graders will be able to complete online assignments through Canvas as prepared by their teachers.  If a student does not have at-home internet access, we encourage our students to visit their school’s media center to inquire about checking out a wifi hotspot device, which will provide internet access.

 

ADMINISTERING THE SAT: 

As some families may know, College Board is set to administer the SAT in the main building of the Asheville High School/SILSA campus tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow’s testing will still occur. Please remind your child to bring their admission ticket, school ID or license, two #2 pencils and a calculator.  

 

FOOD DISTRIBUTION SITES: 

Should the coronavirus’ impact close one or more of our schools, please know our School Nutrition, Transportation and Maintenance Departments have already developed a detailed plan about food distribution sites.  The plan will allow us to continue to provide both breakfast and lunch for our students Monday - Friday. Should schools be closed, Asheville City Schools will deliver meals to Pisgah View Apartments, Hillcrest Apartments, Klondyke Apartments and Livingston Apartments.  Additionally, Isaac Dickson Elementary School will have a drive-thru option should families prefer a grab and go meal. Our meal service will begin the day after schools close. 

 

FIELD TRIPS: 

We would like to reiterate that we have cancelled all field trips - this includes local, in-state, out-of-state and international field trips - for our students and any staff travel outside of the district.  These changes will take effect on Monday, March 16th until further notice. We know this decision will have a financial impact on our students and families. Asheville City Schools has begun working with vendors to determine possible refunds.  Specifics regarding fees paid and possible refunds will be addressed at a future date since the circumstances are unique. 

Although current information is rapidly changing about the coronavirus, as of today, we have no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Buncombe County.  The measures we are taking are all proactive and precautionary.  

Additionally, while there are no immediate plans to close any of our schools, we do advise our families to begin making arrangements for childcare should that action become necessary. 

We are continuing to work on plans to address a range of impacts the coronavirus may have on Asheville City Schools.  If you have questions or concerns, you might want to call your healthcare provider directly, check Buncombe County Health and Human Services’s COVID-19 website, see the latest from the Centers for Disease Control, or call Shane Cassida, our Assistant Superintendent of Auxiliary Services, at (828) 350-6131. 

Thank you for your  continued support as we implement these additional measures.  We will continue to provide updates as we learn more about the progress of the coronavirus. 

March 12, 2020 

Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families.  This is Bobbie Short, Interim Superintendent.  

As you may know, earlier today Buncombe County government officials declared a local state of emergency.  Shortly afterward, the Governor publicly announced his position stating that, at the present, North Carolina schools should not close.    

In light of these decisions and with our students’ safety in mind, Asheville City Schools has decided to cancel all field trips - this includes local, in-state, out-of-state and international field trips - for our students and any staff travel outside of the district.  These changes will take effect on Monday, March 16th until further notice.  

Asheville City Schools will also be cancelling all facility rentals that involve the use of any of our buildings effective Monday, March 16th at 8:00 AM.  At this time, outside organizations will still be permitted to rent a field or outside athletic facility. However, they will not be able to rent any inside facilities.  

In addition, please know that  the North Carolina High School Athletic Association has suspended all high school athletics statewide starting tomorrow, Friday, March 13th at midnight until Monday, April 6th.  This decision will include all workouts, skill development, practices and contests. We will follow these same protocols for our middle school student-athletes. 

Although current information is rapidly changing about the coronavirus, as of today, we have no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Buncombe County.  The measures we are taking are all proactive and precautionary.   

We are continuing to work on plans to address a range of impacts the coronavirus may have on Asheville City Schools.  If you have questions or concerns, you might want to call your healthcare provider directly, check Buncombe County Health and Human Services’s COVID-19 website, see the latest from the Centers for Disease Control, or call Shane Cassida, our Assistant Superintendent of Auxiliary Services, at (828) 350-6131. 

Thank you for your support as we implement these additional measures.  We will continue to provide updates as we learn more about the progress of the coronavirus. 

March 10, 2020 

Good Evening Asheville City Schools Families, 

As part of our continued efforts to ensure the health and well-being of our school community, we have established a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Executive Task Force.  Each day, this group is monitoring the potential impact coronavirus could have on Asheville City Schools. In addition, we are developing a contingency plan should Buncombe County Health and Human Services close one or more of our schools due to the virus’ impact.  

 

Additionally, the district has launched this web page and will post district updates, resources and answers to your frequently asked questions as new information is made available.  

 

Although current information is rapidly changing about the coronavirus, the following is accurate as of today: 

  • Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in effect for all of North Carolina.  
  • To date, there have been reported cases of the coronavirus in 113 countries and territories as well as seven confirmed coronavirus cases in North Carolina.  There have been no confirmed cases in Buncombe County.  
  • 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. 

Asheville City Schools has been working with Buncombe County Health and Human Services as well as MAHEC to prevent the spread of all diseases across our school district, including the coronavirus.  They have, in turn, shared information from the North Carolina Division of Public Health as well as the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.  Asheville City Schools is committed to keeping our students, staff and families as informed as possible.    

FIELD TRIPS:

With our students’ safety at the forefront of all decisions made, we have decided that all international and out-of-state field trips/work-related travel for both our students and staff is canceled until further notice.  This decision was made with input from our principals and the Asheville City Board of Education. We know this decision will have a financial impact on our students and families.  Asheville City Schools has begun working with vendors to determine possible refunds.  Specifics regarding fees paid and possible refunds will be addressed at a future date since the circumstance is unique. 

The district is also proceeding with caution regarding in-state travel.  As new information becomes available, principals may need to alter or cancel these trips.  As with any field trip, if a parent wishes for their child to stay at school rather than attend an in-state trip, the student can most certainly opt out of attending.  

AT-HOME LEARNING: 

In collaboration with our Asheville City Schools teachers, our Curriculum and Instruction Department has a plan for at-home learning should Buncombe County Health and Human Services close one or more of our schools.  

  • Elementary students will be taking home packets complete with reading selections/activities, math worksheets as well as other other core content.  The packets are currently at the printers. We anticipate they will go home with students by next week. Please hold off on completing these at-home learning packets until further guidance is given. 
  • Similar to our elementary students, Montford North Star Academy 6th and 7th Graders will be receiving at-home learning packets.  
  • Because the district assigns secondary students with Asheville City Schools devices (Chromebooks, laptops), Montford North Star Academy 8th Graders as well as all Asheville Middle School, Asheville High School and SILSA students will be able to complete online assignments through Canvas as prepared by their teachers.  If a student does not have at-home internet access, we encourage our students to visit their school’s media center to inquire about checking out a wifi hotspot device, which will provide internet access. 

HAND-WASHING PROTOCOLS:

We continue to place strong emphasis on our hand-washing protocols district-wide.  Hand-washing posters have gone up across our campuses, and students are being given additional opportunities to wash their hands during the school day.  In addition to soap and water access, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also available in classrooms. We have also developed a lesson for all teachers to instruct students on best practices for preventing the spread of illness, including proper handwashing. We are in the process of delivering this instruction to all students across Asheville City Schools. 

 

OTHER PROACTIVE STEPS:  

As previously shared, our custodians and Maintenance Department are continuing to proactively disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.  We will also continue to have supplemental custodial personnel in our buildings, after school hours, to assist with our extended sanitizing process. 

 We will share additional updates as we learn more about the progression of the coronavirus and its impact on Western North Carolina and Asheville City Schools.  If you have questions or concerns, you might want to speak with your healthcare provider directly, contact Buncombe County Health and Human Services at (828) 250-5096, or Shane Cassida, our Assistant Superintendent of Auxiliary Services, at (828) 350-6131. 

Thank you for your support as we implement these precautionary measures.  We believe they will positively impact the safety of our students.  

Sincerely, 

Dr. Bobbie Short, Interim Superintendent 


March 2, 2020 

Good Afternoon Asheville City Schools Families, 

I want to inform you about the steps Asheville City Schools is taking, or preparing to take, to prevent the spread of coronavirus if there is an outbreak in our community.  

I also want to use this opportunity to remind staff, students and parents about steps we all can take to prevent the spread of this and other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu.  

Although current information is rapidly changing about the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, the following is accurate as of today: 

  • 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. 
  • Although there have been reported cases of coronavirus in 72 countries and territories, to date, there have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in North Carolina.   

Asheville City Schools has been working with Buncombe County Health and Human Services as well as MAHEC to prevent the spread of all diseases across our school district, including the coronavirus.  They have, in turn, shared information from the North Carolina Division of Public Health as well as the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. Our school nurses have been a vital part of this conversation.  

To help prevent the spread of any respiratory virus, including the coronavirus, Asheville City Schools will be adhering to the following guidelines:

  • Students and staff should stay home when they are sick.  If students 0r 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.

Additional measures Asheville City Schools is putting in place include an extensive sanitizing process and a review of our food purchasing plan.  Our custodians and Maintenance Department will continue to proactively disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.  For the next several weeks, we will also be adding supplemental custodial personnel in our buildings, after school hours, to assist with our extended sanitizing process.  In collaboration with our School Nutrition Department, we have begun reviewing our food supply purchases to help ensure we are able to provide daily meals should a disruption in delivery occur due to impacts of the coronavirus.  

Our Curriculum and Instruction Department is working to develop a plan for continued learning should schools be closed due to the virus’ impact.      

If a student or staff member should show any sign of respiratory symptoms, our school nurses are available to work with students, staff and families.  Again, please be reminded that students who are sick should remain home and families should consult with their healthcare provider.

We will share additional updates as we learn more about the progression of the coronavirus and its impact on Western North Carolina and Asheville City Schools.  If you have questions or concerns, you might want to speak with your healthcare provider directly, contact Buncombe County Health and Human Services at (828) 250-5096, or Shane Cassida, our Assistant Superintendent of Auxiliary Services, at (828) 350-6131. 

We are hopeful the coronavirus will not adversely impact our district but want to diligently prepare for any potential situations.  Thank you for supporting our efforts, especially our guidelines outlined above.  

Sincerely, 

Dr. Bobbie Short, Interim Superintendent