Letter: Plan, then vote to send students back

Graphic by Lori Deaton

As a beekeeper, before I perform any inspection on a hive, I have a detailed plan of action set in place. This plan of action contains a varying number of if-then scenarios in which I know what I may encounter. You see, there is limited time in which one can be inside a hive, for the safety of both the keeper and the bees. Each hive is different and may need a different course of action than the one next to it. But I know this before I even contemplate popping the top of the hive.

Before the [Buncombe County Schools] board and the superintendent sat down to their [Feb. 25] special called session, there should have been a plan of action set in place for each of the 23 elementary schools in our county. As stated in the meeting, each school has different special circumstances, different needs, different concerns. Why were these not addressed before calling the special session?

Are the 1,000 vaccine doses a week that are allotted to BCS employees now to be dedicated to primary school staff and teachers? What is the spacing between students for each specific school? How will bus safety be addressed? How will lunch/snack/playtime be handled? These are just a few of the problems that should have been addressed prior to the vote, rather than rushing to find solutions by an arbitrary date in which they themselves set.

It is a failure to our community to rush into sending children back to school under Plan A without a plan. Our schools have been under Plan C/B for going on a year. There is no excuse that these educational professionals [did] not have a concrete and specific plan set in place before voting to send students back.

Now middle and high schoolers are supposed to go back into the buildings full time as well. With nine days to adjust to this new plan, parents are left hanging in the wind as to what to expect from yet another transition. Only a warning to the community to not gather for spring break, when we are just now recovering from the winter break spike. And completely ignoring the fact that getting the young adults in our community to follow guidelines is akin to herding cats.

— Julie Moller

Editor’s note: Xpress contacted Buncombe County Schools with the letter writer’s points, and we received the following response from Stacia Harris, director of communications: “First, we’d strongly encourage this parent to bring their concerns directly to their principal. All of these specific questions can be answered at the school level. You’ll need to reach out to the health department regarding vaccine distribution.

“We are pleased to say that our district leadership and school admin teams have been in constant communication and collaboration this year as we’ve planned and strategized for what Plan A, B and C would look like for a particular school. Any votes from the board provided time to make the necessary transition between plans. Each school has a different layout, so each admin team was empowered to customize a plan that works for their needs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and our schools have successfully implemented safety plans that work for them.”


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