N.C. public schools to close beginning Monday, March 16, for at least two weeks

Photo courtesy of Buncombe County Schools

At 4:30 p.m. on March 14, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper announced that all public schools in the state will close beginning Monday, March 16, and continuing at least through Monday, March 30.

Announcement from Asheville City Schools:

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.

Statement from Buncombe County Schools:

Late this afternoon, Governor Cooper announced an executive order affecting all K-12 public schools. As such, Buncombe County Schools will now be closed for students beginning Monday, March 16, for at least two weeks. This closure affects all programming, including before-and after-school activities, all athletic and extracurricular practices, competitions, and weekend events.

Monday, March 16, will be a regular day for employees, including teacher’s assistants unless you are ill and wish to take sick leave. Please note that school nutrition employees will be reporting to assigned meal sites. Further information will be shared via email. Bus drivers will receive separate communication as well. Important additional information will be provided to all categories of employees soon.

In consultation with state and local leaders, we will determine a schedule to re-open school at a later date.

BCS Virtual Days

Our school system has been preparing for this closure. As such, Buncombe County Virtual Days will soon be in effect. Our teachers have worked diligently to prepare students to remain connected to our curriculum and their classmates virtually, despite our campuses being closed. Please check your email and ask your children to check their school email for more details about assignments and upcoming lessons. If your child did not bring their device home on Friday, we are finalizing a plan to get those devices to them. We will share those details with you soon. 

Emergency Food Services

Also, we want to ensure all in our community have uninterrupted access to nutrition. With the help of dedicated partners, Buncombe County Schools will host drive-through food pick-up stations (breakfast and lunch) in all of our districts. We will begin this program with

  • Oakley Elementary,

  • Johnston Elementary,

  • Emma Elementary,

  • West Buncombe Elementary,

  • Hominy Valley Elementary,

  • Pisgah Elementary,

  • Owen High School,

  • Black Mountain Primary,

  • Weaverville Elementary,

  • North Windy Ridge Intermediate,

  • and, Estes Elementary.

We will use yellow buses to deliver food to high population areas of the district that are area eligible. We will announce more details including meal service time on Sunday.

For our employees, we are awaiting further guidance from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction regarding pay options during this shutdown period. We ask for your patience as we seek further guidance on this matter. 

This is an unprecedented situation for school systems across the state. Be sure to check buncombeschools.org for the latest information. Please follow @BuncombeSchools on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And, please download the BCS app and “opt-in” for notifications. 

Statement from Henderson County Public Schools:

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (March 14, 2020) – Earlier today, Governor Cooper announced an executive order affecting all K-12 public schools as a precautionary measure against the transmission of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Therefore, Henderson County Public Schools will be closed for all students beginning Monday, March 16,  and remain closed for at least two weeks. This closure affects all school programming, including before- and after-school activities, on-campus childcare, all athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions, and all weekend events.

For HCPS staff, Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17 will be Optional Teacher Workdays.  The Learn From Home model will take effect for students Wednesday, March 18. Specific details regarding the Learn From Home model will be sent to families on Tuesday, March 17.

Although this is an unprecedented situation for school systems across our state, HCPS has been preparing for this event. The Learn From Home model will involve virtual and/or take-home coursework, depending on students’ grade level and internet connectivity.

In consultation with state and local leaders, we will determine a schedule to re-open schools at a later date.

Plans regarding continuity of meals during the shutdown are being finalized. This, as well as additional information for families and staff, will be communicated through the same platforms the district has used thus far to share COVID-19 information: phone message alerts, letters to families through Peachjar e-flyers, staff emails website postings, social media, and media advisories.

Be sure to check www.HCPSNC.org/COVID-19 for the latest updates from Henderson County Public Schools, as well as public health resources. Please follow @HCPSNC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And, please download the HCPS Mobile app and “opt-in” for notifications.

Press release from N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper:

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper today ordered all K-12 public schools in North Carolina to close for a minimum of two weeks in response to COVID-19. The Executive Order also bans gatherings of more than 100 people. North Carolina currently has 23 people in 12 counties who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We do not have the luxury of a wait-and-see approach. These are hard decisions but they are necessary so we can learn more about the virus,” Governor Cooper said. “We do not want any regrets in the rearview mirror, and I am guided by one objective – doing what we must to keep people from getting sick and to make sure that those who do can get excellent care.”

The Executive Order directs all public schools to close beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 for at least two weeks. The two-week period allows time for North Carolina to further understand the impact of COVID-19 across the state and develop a plan for continued learning for students should a longer closure be needed. Governor Cooper made the decision in consultation with State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, and North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen.

Governor Cooper has appointed an Education and Nutrition Working Group to develop a plan to ensure that children and families are supported while schools are closed. The working group will focus on issues including nutrition, health, childcare access for critical health care and other front-line workers and learning support for children at home.

The Working Group will be co- chaired by Susan Gale Perry, Chief Deputy Secretary of NC DHHS and David Stegall, Ed.D, Deputy State Superintendent of Innovation at DPI, and will have representatives from DPI, NC DHHS, the State Board of Education, as well as other education, nutrition and childcare associations.

“I am standing up this new working group to ensure that children have enough food to eat, families have care in safe places for their young children, and student learning continues,” Governor Cooper said.

In addition to closing schools, the Executive Order prohibits mass gatherings that bring together more than 100 people in a single room or space, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater, or other confined indoor or outdoor space, including parades, fairs and festivals. Violations of the order are punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

The ban on gatherings does not include airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls and spaces where people may be in transit. Office environments, restaurants, factories, or retail or grocery stores are also excluded.

The Order received concurrence by members of the NC Council of State without objection. The full executive order is available here.

Make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS.

For more information, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, which includes daily updates on positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.

Statement from Mark Jewell, President of the North Carolina Association of Educators:

“We appreciate Governor Cooper’s careful consideration of all the impacts a statewide closure of our public school system would have on educators, students, parents, and the wider community. Ultimately, we think this is the correct decision, and we thank him for acting decisively in the best interest of everyone involved.”



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3 thoughts on “N.C. public schools to close beginning Monday, March 16, for at least two weeks

  1. Matthew

    CDC is saying 8-12 weeks is more realistic for school closures. Bumpy ride ahead, hang on.

  2. Adrian

    It is insane to me that local news outlets continue to maintain that there are no cases in WNC and buncombe county (I’m looking at you WLOS and citizen-times) . What felt like aloof reporting is really starting to feel a lot more like intentional suppression. Reporting that there have been no confirmed positives would at least be true but contextualizing that information is critical with the serious lack of testing being done Saying there are no cases here feels more criminal in nature. I suppose there is a lot of money at stake in the tourism economy, I wonder if this is shaping the reporting in some way. It kills me to hear people are going to get serious about social distancing once someone tests positive here. It might kill others too.

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