Asheville City Schools to close all buildings through Dec. 11 for post-Thanksgiving quarantine

Press release from Asheville City Schools:

As more medical experts predict Thanksgiving will be a superspreader of COVID-19, Dr. Gene has decided that all Asheville City Schools buildings will be closed the two weeks following our Thanksgiving Holiday (Monday, November 30th – Friday, December 11th).  We understand this is a change in our previous communication.  Please know our goal is to give families as much notice as possible by telling you about the extension today.

As you can see on our COVID-19 dashboard, this decision is NOT driven by a COVID cluster anywhere within our district.  It has simply been made with the safety of our students, staff and families in mind.

Knowing many are traveling, Dr. Gene would like to give the Cougar Family the opportunity to quarantine for a full 14 days after the break’s conclusion.  Based on existing literature from the CDC, COVID-19’s time of exposure to the development of symptoms ranges from 2–14 days.  Therefore, in order to keep everyone safe, we are extending the closure of our buildings to include the full 14 day incubation period.

Only essential workers should report to their assigned location on November 30th – December 11th.  Staff, your supervisor will be in contact with you if you fall into this category.

Families, remote instruction WILL continue as planned for all students November 30th – December 11th; our educators will simply be carrying out instruction from the safety of their homes.  This extension DOES include our preschool program.  Our buildings will be closed; therefore, should your child traditionally attend the preschool program, please know they will NOT report to the campus but will instead be learning from home on November 30th – December 11th.

As a reminder, community-based PODS will be closed for in-person instruction and afterschool programming through the City of Asheville’s Parks & Recreation Department the week of November 30th – December 4th.  They WILL be open at the discretion of each community center the week of December 7th – 11th.

Food Distribution Sites Reopening on December 4th: 
Food distribution sites will also NOT be serving meals November 30th – December 3rd.  However, our community-based pick-up sites and school drive-thru sites WILL reopen on Friday, December 4th.  This is a change to the communication shared on November 20th.  Moving up our reopening date will allow families to not only receive meals next Friday but also meal packs for next weekend.  Should your family need additional resources prior to December 4th, please reach out to your school social worker.

Cancelling In-Person, Elementary School-Based Small Groups:  
If your child was set to begin an in-person, small group at one of our elementary schools on Monday, December 7th, please know they have now been cancelled.  Someone from your child’s school will be in contact with additional information.

High School Testing:
In-person End of Course exams for NC Math 1, NC Math 3, Biology, and English II and CTE post assessments will take place for high school students the week of December 14th – 18th.  If your child falls into this category, please know their school will be communicating additional information about this process.

At this time, middle and high school athletics will continue as scheduled at the discretion of coaches as long as the NCHSAA and CDC guidelines can be followed.

Postponing In-Person Return Dates: 
Additionally, in an effort to give families time to prepare and be as transparent as possible, please know the district is postponing its date to bring K-5 students back for in-person learning.

Following the Winter Holidays, the district WILL issue another two-week incubation period in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Therefore, although we hoped January 11th would be our return date for elementary students, Dr. Gene has decided January 19th will be the first day back on campus for our staff.  The tentative date for our large-scale, gradual transition from Plan C to Plan B for Kindergarten – 5th Grade is now set for Monday, February 1st.  More information will be provided following the Thanksgiving Holiday; however, please understand this date is subject to change based on variations in COVID-19 cases both in our community and across our state.

A tentative return date for our secondary students will be announced at a later time.

We are hopeful Governor Cooper’s tightened restrictions and Executive Order No. 180 will decrease the rapid spread of COVID-19.  In order to save our school year, we ask each member of the Cougar Family to please do their part and continue to practice the Three W’s as you have a safe and happy holiday weekend.

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