School Systems In WNC: How Will They Reopen?

Jul 29, 2020

Plan B, Plan C, or something in between?  Check out what each public school district in Western North Carolina decided on for the start of the school year.

ASHEVILLE

On July 23rd, Asheville City Schools decided all grades Kindergarten through 12th grade will have remote instruction for the first nine weeks of school that starts August 17th.  This came in response to concerns from both parents and staff about the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Buncombe County.  

BUNCOMBE

On July 28th, the Buncombe County approved what is being called 'Plan B Beyond.'  Families were surveyed to see whether they wanted to have some kind of in-person instruction, or all remote.  61% responded they wanted some kind of in-person instruction, so those students will receive in-person orientation on rotating days at the start of the school year on August 17th.  Kindergarten through 8th grade will receive this between August 17th and 20th with days starting at 8 a.m..  Grades 9th through 13th will get those orientation days between August 17th and 27th with days starting at 9 a.m.  Once that is completed, those students will receive remote instruction through at least September 28th.

For the 39% of families/students who requested all remote instruction, they will receive that including orientation.

CHEROKEE

Cherokee County Schools will implement Plan B with a mixture of in-person and remote learning. Pre-K schools will announce a plan soon. Parents can choose between fully remote or partially in-person learning. A registration form for each student is due August 10. Students will be required to wear a mask at all times.  Tri-County Early College has a separate plan. The school board is currently working on its plan to consolidate the county’s schools as part of its long range plan.

The Learning Center Charter School in Murphy will be offering families a choice between Plan B or being fully remote. 

EASTERN BAND OF CHEROKEE INDIANS

The Cherokee Central Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to begin the school year under Plan C at a July 20 meeting. That means students of all ages will begin remote learning only classes on Wednesday, August 19. This plan will be re-evaluated after nine weeks. Teachers and staff will be returning to campus on Thursday, August 6 with safety guidelines and after passing a COVID-19 test. 

Here is the schedule for student electronic distribution.

CLAY

Clay County Board of Education approved a Plan B opening for students on July 30. All grades will attend through an A/B schedule with two days a week of in-person instruction and remote learning on the other days. Face masks will be required. Classrooms will socially distance and there will be outside ‘mask breaks.’  Clay County Board of Education will consider Plan C if the county hits 5 percent infection rate. Currently, the county is at about .07 percent.

GRAHAM

Graham County School Board sent out a survey asking parents for their preferences in the new school year. The Graham County Board of Education will met in a Special Called Meeting on Monday, July 27 at 1:00 p.m. to finalize decisions for the reopening of school. Graham County Schools will open with Plan B. Kindergarten through 3rd grade and high school students will report to school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Remote learning on Wednesday. Other students will be on an A-B schedule. Here is the full statement.  Graham County Health Department announced at the beginning of August that there is community spread in the county. 

HAYWOOD

Haywood County Schools will begin with remote learning for most students. The plan does have some exceptions: Pre-K, elementary students who were struggling academically before COVID-19, and some students with specialized learning plans will have in-person learning opportunities. These students will be able to meet in small groups. The school board will continue to evaluate the plan and interested students will be able to return to in-person learning on Monday, September 21st.

School Superintendent Bill Noylte was suspended for a racially insensitive Facebook post on July 13. He was reinstated following an investigation on July 22.  The board is moving forward with a “plan to Foster Unity and Limit Divisive Bias Regarding Race and other Important Topics.” 

Haywood County has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, just like the rest of WNC. In the first week of August, there were 107 new cases in the county. 

HENDERSON On July 20th, the Henderson County Board of Education voted for all students to receive remote instruction for the first six weeks of the school year.  Students will receive remote instruction from 8 a.m. to noon each day, with independent assignments for each afternoon. 

JACKSON

Jackson County Board of Education approved a transitional reentry plan in the evening on July 28. Students can attend an in-person orientation when Phase 1 begins the week of August 17.  Each class will be divided into small groups of students who will attend school on an alternating schedule for the first two weeks to meet teachers and prepare for remote learning.

On August 31, most students will transition to remote-only instruction for at least two weeks.  Pre-Kindergarten students and students who receive more than five hours of specially designed instruction per day will attend in-person in small groups on a modified schedule. 

At a special meeting on August 11, Jackson County School Board approved the purchase — upon final legal review — of the School Pass app to streamline the pick-up, drop-off process as well as check student health. 

MACON

The Macon County Board of Education approved Plan B on July 30. Students in the Franklin area (K-8) will alternate between A/B days during the week with all remote learning on Friday. Franklin High School will have a similar rotation based on grade as will Macon Early College. Highlands School will rotate each week based on grade levels. Union Academy and Nantahala Schools will all be in-person with social distancing and remote learning on Friday.  Face coverings will be provided and required for all students and staff. The plan will be re-evaluated during the week of September 7, while all students are learning remotely. In a special meeting on August 11, Macon County Board of Education pushed virutual academy classes until August 24. Other students will continue with their blended learning model.

MADISON

Families/students in Madison County can choose whether they want in-person instruction or all remote instruction.  For those who chose the all remote option, grades Kindergarten through 5th will use Edmentum's Calvert curriculum; Grades 6 to 8 will use Edmentum, and grades 9 through 12 will get personalized instruction from teachers.  Families/students are asked to make their decision on whether they want in-person or remote instruction by August 7th. 

POLK

On July 27th, the Polk County approved a Plan B proposal, which allows families/students to opt for in-person or all remote instruction.  Those who opt for in-person instruction, middle and high school students can attend in-person classes twice a week.  Elementary and early college students can attend in-person classes everyday.  Those who opt for all remote instruction will do so through the district's new Wolverine Academy.

SWAIN

Swain County Schools have announced the Plan B proposal. The plan allows students to choose between remote learning or an alternative schedule with two days of in person instruction and three days of virtual learning. Students will have their temperature screened everyday on campus and everyone will be required to wear a mask. The school board is working to develop community locations where reliable internet can be accessed. According to a survey done by the school board, 70 percent of parents in the county wanted some form of face-to-face instruction for their children. The online form to pick up student's chromebooks or Ipads is now open.

TRANSYLVANIA

Transylvania County Schools Education Board announced it will reopen with Plan B on July 27. Here is the breakdown on all potential plans. The schools recently announced a virtual learning platform called, “TCS Online Learning Path.” Students will need to fill out a permission slip to recieve their chromebooks.

YANCEY

Families/students in Yancey County can choose either in-person instruction or all remote instruction.  The deadline to make a choice is July 31st.  Those opting for all remote learning can do so here.