Avery School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Brigman Declares Public School Opening Positive

Published Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 10:49 am

By Tim Gardner

Fear of reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic is sparking controversial conversations across the nation. As more districts switch to remote learning, the Avery County public school system has reopened with two learning options available for students.

And a sense of normalcy is coming together in the school system for students, parents, teachers, administrators and other staff members, according to Dr. Daniel Brigman, Avery Schools Superintendent.

“Obviously, there’s some anxiety and missed feelings about opening school. But school is off to a tremendously awesome start in Avery County,” he said. “I’ve heard absolutely nothing but positive comments about schools reopening and the options we have given students and their parents. I think everyone involved has been excited about that. The students and school staffs are taking every precaution to combat COVID-19. And I think it’s just easier for students to learn when you have a teacher right there before you teaching you and to answering any questions you have. It’s almost impossible to make up missed classroom time.”

The first day of the 2020-2021 academic year in Avery County Schools was Monday, August 17, 2020 with face to face learning and virtual learning options.

On July 1, the North Carolina Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction released operational plans for the upcoming 2020-21 school year. The DPI released three plans ranging from normal class schedules with increased health monitoring and building cleaning to entirely at-home remote learning.

Then on July 14, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced his mandates for schools to reopen due to COVID-19. The Avery County Board of Education approved using Plan B of Governor Cooper’s three mandated plans to reopen schools.

Avery County Schools opened this fall in accordance with Plan B with a 4×1 framework for all students choosing the in-school option. Under the 4×1 framework, all students will be in class Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of each week. Wednesdays will serve as remote learning days to allow deep cleaning of all facilities, teacher planning, teacher training and parent/student contact as needed.  

Students choosing the in-school option will be in the classroom receiving face-to-face instruction from their teachers. Social distancing requirements are in place in all classrooms.  All students and staff are required to wear face coverings until further notice.

Dr. Brigman said he and other Avery Schools officials asked for, and received, much input from teachers, other school staff and parents of students attending Avery County Schools about how best to carry out Governor Cooper’s orders.

Plan B originally included Moderate Social Distancing that would consist of 50 percent occupancy throughout schools. However, that could either mean 50 percent of the headcount of a school’s population or 50 percent of the total occupancy of buildings. Either way, schools would stagger students in participation. 50 percent of students would be on campus one day, while the other 50 percent of students would remain home.

But Governor Cooper and the NCDPI removed the 50 percent occupancy issue/requirement within Plan B upon the July 14 announcement. 

The other plans include:

Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing, safety precautions will be placed throughout schools with all students in attendance. Safety precautions could include changes such as frequent sanitation, one-way traffic in hallways, cafeterias limiting the number of individuals and covering meals, among other things.

Plan C: Remote Learning, campuses would be totally closed, and remote learning would continue throughout the school year.

Governor Cooper ordered schools to use Plan B or Plan C, but will not permit them to use Plan A until further notice.

Dr. Brigman added that he and other Avery School System officials are working closely with Avery County governmental officials as well as medical and health professionals across the state, region and locally about how to continue to move forward in our schools while combating COVID-19.

“Of course, our plans can change depending on what happens with COVID-19 and how, and if the Governor adjusts or revises his plans due to the pandemic,” Dr. Brigman noted. “But prayerfully, cases of COVID-19 will decrease sharply and end, a cure will be found for the disease and our worlds will be turned back around so we can return things to normal in our school lives and our everyday lives.”

Governor Cooper announced that Kindergarten through Twelve (K-12) public schools would reopen under a “moderate social distancing” plan that limits how many people can be on campus, forcing many students to get a mix of in-person and remote instruction. The reopening plan requires daily temperature and health screening checks, maintaining at least 6 feet of social distancing and face coverings to be worn by all school employees and students.

Governor Cooper said school districts could reopen with remote-only instruction if they determine that it’s best for students, parents and teachers. He warned that the state may switch to requiring all schools to use online-only instruction if COVID-19 cases have a high surge and they can’t safely stay open under the new health guidelines.

The General Assembly passed a law requiring school districts to open with in-person instruction for the first week of school. Governor Cooper said the state Department of Justice ruled he has the authority to allow schools to reopen under Plan C.

Governor Cooper changed his original mandates on the reopening rules under Plan B. Previously schools were limited to 50 percent capacity. But he added that schools must set capacity limits “necessary to ensure 6 feet distance can be maintained when students/staff will be stationary.”

Schools are still limited by rules that restrict them to one child per seat on a bus.

Although school started this fall, prep sports at Avery High and across the state took a big blow as the North Carolina High School Athletics Association—the governing body of public-school prep sports– postponed football until February, 2021 and shortened schedules of all sports teams.

There will be no tryouts or practices for any sports until November 4, 2020.

The high school football regular season will begin on February 26. The regular season, which has been reduced to seven games, will end on April 9.  A playoff format is still being worked out by the NCHSAA.

The first high school football practices are set for February 8.

Dr. Brigman quipped: “Everyone attending Avery High’s home football games had better wear their heavy coats, toboggans and especially their thermals to all our games as they all may be played in the snow! More often than not, Avery County receives more snow and ice than any county in the state as winters here can be treacherous. Hopefully, really inclement weather could be a big advantage to our football teams as our players and staff are more used to such large amounts of snow, ice and cold are our opponents. And we could possibly have games changed to different days of the week depending on the weather. Even our football practices may be held in the snow.”

Dr. Brigman then added: “I assure everyone concerned, including our players, coaches, staff, parents and families of athletes and our fans as well as the visiting team and its supporters that all precautions will be in place for the safety of everyone who will be attending the games. If the weather is too bad, the games would be postponed. Our school system would never risk the lives of anyone due to weather.”

Following are excerpts from a letter Brigman sent to all Avery County School System students and their families about the reopening of schools:

 “In preparation for the new academic year, many days of hard work have gone into planning for reopening of schools, facility updates, and other preparations to ensure the highest level of teaching and learning can occur in a safe environment.

 “On July 14th, Governor Cooper announced reopening plans for the new academic year. School districts were given the option of opening under Plan B or Plan C with the expectation of offering a virtual option for teaching and learning. The virtual option is for any student wishing to access this approach instead of attending school each day.

 “I commend all five members of the Avery County Board of Education for their unwavering leadership and support to get our staff and students back in school where each child has access to a quality educator, two fresh meals a day, and the social/emotional support needed following the extended school closure. The safety of all staff and students will remain paramount as we get our school year underway. We have specific safety protocols in place to ensure the highest level of safety and security of all staff and students on our campuses. Principals received a detailed summary of CoVID-19 School Safety Guidelines to share with all staff.

 “In addition to in-class instruction, the Avery Virtual Academy (AVA) is now underway and planning continues as we welcome a large number of our students to this virtual option. Currently, we have just under 23%, or approximately 445 of our students and families who selected this option. As a result of this dual approach for starting school, some employees may be asked to assume duties to support students enrolled in the virtual platform. Fortunately, we have been able to redirect personnel to support this dual approach for instructional delivery this fall without having to reduce any positions at this time. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we address personnel needs across the school system in support of in-class and virtual instruction models.

 “As you can tell, this will be unlike any other start of the school year we have ever experienced. Please keep in mind, all staff, students, and families are very likely experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety as we prepare for August 17th. A little bit of patience, teamwork, and faith will go a long way as we fulfill our obligations to provide an essential service to our students, parents, and communities throughout Avery County.

 “I feel confident we will not lose our stride and will continue to provide the best education possible for every child in Avery County, both in class and online.   I hope you will continue to lift our students, families, and our school system up in prayer as we do our very important work during the academic year ahead. Thank you for all you do in support of our children and families. You are often the only hope others have.”

 

FAQ Document from Avery County School Website

WHEN DOES THE AVERY COUNTY SCHOOL YEAR START?

The first day of school will be August 17, 2020 for face to face learning and virtual learning options. ACS will be starting school in accordance with Plan B with a 4×1 framework for all students choosing the in-school option. Under the 4×1 framework, all students will be in class Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of each week. Wednesdays will serve as remote learning days to allow deep cleaning of all facilities, teacher planning, teacher training and parent/student contact as needed. 

WHAT DOES FACE TO FACE vs. VIRTUAL LEARNING LOOK LIKE?

Students choosing the in-school option will be in the classroom receiving face to face instruction from their teachers. Social distancing requirements will be in place in all classrooms.  All students and staff are required to wear face coverings until further notice. ACS will be starting school in accordance with Plan B with a 4×1 framework for all students choosing the in-school option. Under the 4×1 framework, all students will be in class Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of each week. Wednesdays will serve as remote learning days to allow deep cleaning of all facilities, teacher planning, teacher training and parent/student contact as needed. 

If you live in Avery County, you have the option of enrolling in the Virtual platform.  For this option, internet access is strongly recommended.  A list of internet hot spots will be provided if you do not have internet access at your home.  ACS will provide devices for all students participating in the virtual option in Avery County.  The guidelines and applications for this virtual learning opportunity will be available by July 24, and the deadline for applications will be August 5th. Students choosing the virtual learning platform will be required to have interactive instruction 5 days a week.  Grades will be given, new content will be presented each day in the classroom and within the virtual setting.  Attendance will be taken daily. Please see the Elementary and Secondary Virtual Learning information below.

WILL EVERYONE WEAR FACE MASKS?    

  • Avery County Schools is mandated by NCDPI and NCDHHS to ensure that all students from kindergarten through 12th grade, and all teachers/staff wear face coverings unless an exemption applies, is eating or is engaged in strenuous physical activity.  Adult visitors must wear  face coverings unless the person (or family member, for a student) states that an exception applies, is eating, or is engaged in strenuous physical activity.

  • Cloth face coverings must be worn by all students, teachers, staff and adult visitors inside school buildings, on buses and anywhere on school grounds.

  • Five (5) cloth face coverings will be provided by ACS for each student as well as faculty and staff.  Face coverings should be washed daily in hot water and dried on a high/hot heat setting between use.  

  • Students, faculty and staff may choose to wear their own face covering as long as it meets the general requirements for protection.

  • A limited supply of disposable face coverings will be available for staff, visitors, or students who do not have a cloth face covering when they come to school, mask becomes unusable, or is lost.  

  • ACS will share guidance and information with staff, students, and families on the proper use, wearing, removal, and cleaning of cloth face coverings.

How to Safely Wear and Take Off a Cloth Face Covering

WHEN SHOULD I KEEP MY CHILD AT HOME?

As you may know, COVID-19 can be easily spread from person-to-person. Therefore, we are taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. 

 Parents, we need your help to do this. Some children may not be able to verbalize their symptoms, which can delay responding to their illness, so it is important to observe for the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or unusual behavior that may be a sign of illness. 

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms may include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, headache, a new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. 

  • Before sending your child to school, review the symptoms below, and mark all that apply to your child: 

1. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other stomach/GI symptoms  Yes  No 

2. Headache  Yes  No 

3. Fever 100.4o F (38o C) or greater  Yes  No 

4. Sore throat  Yes  No 

5. Cough, congestion, or runny nose  Yes  No 

6. Shortness of breath  Yes  No 

7. Muscle or body aches  Yes  No 

8. New loss of taste or smell  Yes  No

  • If you answered yes to number 1 and 3, your child is to remain at home. It is also recommended that children who present multiple symptoms stay at home. Your child should not return to school until they have been fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medicine, and have felt well for 24 hours. 

If your child becomes sick during the school day, he/she will be removed from the classroom and taken to the health isolation room where a school nurse or trained staff member will monitor their symptoms.

Parents are asked to pick sick students up immediately from school in order to keep our schools healthy. 

 

WHAT IS A HEALTH CHECK?   

  • Health checks will be completed on ALL faculty, staff, students and visitors each day.

  • Staff and students should be encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.  If a student develops symptoms throughout the day, they must notify an adult immediately.

  • Schools are required to enforce that staff and students stay home if…

    • they have tested positive or are showing COVID-19 symptoms, until they meet criteria for return.

    • they have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19, until they meet criteria for return.

  • ACS faculty and staff completing health checks will wear required PPE.

  • Areas in which lines are anticipated will be marked six-feet (6) apart with decals or tape.

  • ACS faculty and staff will make a quick visual inspection of each student for any signs of illness – flushed cheeks, rapid breathing, difficulty breathing, or fatigue. 

  • The health check will also include a series of questions to determine if an individual is exhibiting any of the symptoms linked to COVID-19.

    • Have you been in close contact (within six-feet (6) for at least 15 minutes) in the last fourteen (14) days with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, or has any health department or health care provider been in contact with you and advised you to quarantine?

    • Since you were last at school, have you had any of these symptoms?

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • New cough

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Since you were last at school, have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?

    • Students and ACS faculty and staff who fall into the above categories will not be allowed to return to school unless they can answer YES to ALL of the following questions:

      • Has it been at least ten (14) days since you first had symptoms?

      • Has it been at least 24 hours since you had a fever (without using fever-reducing medicine)?

      • Has there been symptom improvement, including cough and shortness of breath?

    • ACS faculty and staff will take the temperature of each student as they enter the building each morning.

    • Individuals who have a fever of 100.4 F or above or other signs of illness will not be allowed to enter the classroom and will be sent home for the day. 

    • After the daily health check has been completed for all participants,  CCS faculty and staff will discard their PPE, clean the thermometer, and wash their hands.

  • The Avery County School system will utilize guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) , NC DHHS and Avery County Public Health to keep our staff and students safe.  The reference guide is located at the following link: Public Health Toolkit (K-12)

If a student or staff member becomes ill during the day he/she will be immediately removed from the classroom. 

  • Avery  County Schools faculty, staff and student sick policy will be strictly enforced in order to keep our schools healthy. 

  • Parents are asked to pick sick students up immediately from school in order to keep our schools healthy. 

  • Each school building will have a dedicated space (Health Isolation Room)  for symptomatic individuals that will be away from classrooms and high traffic areas in the school. There will be a nurse or a covid trained staff member that will take care of any symptomatic student until a parent arrives. 

  • ACS faculty and staff will wear PPE when interacting with an individual that has been placed in the health isolation room.  

  • Social distancing protocol (6 feet apart) will be followed in the health isolation room to the greatest extent possible. 

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CHILD GETS SICK?

  • Suspected, Presumptive, or Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 will be addressed utilizing NC DHHS guidelines in conjunction with Avery County Public Health Officials.  The reference guide is located at the following link:

Reference Guide for Suspected, Presumptive, or Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 (K-12)

  • If a person has had a negative COVID-19 test, they can return to school once there is no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines, no symptoms (new cough, chills, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell) and they have felt well for 24 hours.

  • If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a medical professional they should not be at school and should stay at home until they can answer YES to the following three questions:

    • Has it been at least 10 days since the individual first had symptoms?

    • Has it been at least 24 hours since the individual had a fever (without using fever-reducing medicine)?

    • Has there been symptom improvement, including cough and shortness of breath?

  • If a student or staff member has been diagnosed with COVID-19 but does not have symptoms, they must remain out of school until 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test, assuming that they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.

  • If a student or staff member has symptoms of COVID-19 but refuses to be tested, they must remain out of school for 14 days. They must be symptom free before coming back to school.

  • If a student/employee has been determined to be in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, they must remain out of school for 14 days since the last date of exposure unless they test positive.  In this case, exclusion criteria above would apply.  They must complete the full 14 days of quarantine, even if they test negative.

  • An individual can return to school, following normal school policies, if they receive confirmation of an alternative diagnosis from a health care provider that would explain the COVID-19-like symptom(s) once there is no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines and they have felt well for 24 hours.

 

WHAT WILL SOCIAL DISTANCING LOOK LIKE IN AVERY COUNTY SCHOOLS?

    

 

  • Avery County Schools faculty and staff will teach and reinforce social distancing, and will provide frequent reminders for students, teachers, staff and visitors to stay at least 6 feet apart from one another.

  • ACS will arrange desks or seating so that students are separated from one another by 6 feet.

  • Visitors will not be allowed to go into the school buildings; they will only be allowed into the main office. Visitors will be required to wear face coverings. 

  • Special events such as festivals, holiday events, special performances, and field trips will be canceled.

  • ACS will provide social distancing floor/seating markings six-feet (6) apart in waiting, reception, restrooms, locker rooms, the cafeteria, and other areas as needed. 

  • Activities and transitions will require adherence to social distancing protocol six-feet (6) apart whenever and wherever possible

WILL STUDENTS EAT IN THE CLASSROOMS? BREAKFAST?

  • Avery County Schools will continue to meet the nutritional needs of our students, faculty and staff by providing delicious and nutritious meals each day that school is in session.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided daily.

  • Breakfast – Once inside the building, the student may receive a “grab-and-go” breakfast at the car-rider or bus-rider entrance.

  • Students will eat breakfast in their classrooms. 

  • Social distancing in the classroom will be practiced during mealtimes, with adequate spacing provided to the greatest extent possible.

  • The standard handwashing protocol will be followed at the beginning and ending of meals – wash hands for 20 seconds with friction.

  • Lunch – Students will walk to the cafeteria to pick up their meal and will return to their classrooms to eat. Some schools may have a few classrooms eating in the cafeteria while observing the social distancing regulations. You will receive further details from your child’s teacher regarding lunch procedures for their class. 

  • ACS will provide social distancing floor markings six-feet (6) apart in the cafeteria.

  • ACS will mark six-feet (6) of spacing to remind school nutrition staff to stay six-feet (6) apart throughout food distribution.

  • Through August 31st, 2020 – all students will receive a FREE breakfast and lunch regardless of eligibility.

  • Beginning September 1st, 2020 Emergency Feeding Program will end.  National School Lunch Program and National School Breakfast Program will begin and meal pricing will be based on meal free and reduced lunch eligibility. You will need to fill out a Free and Reduced Lunch application to qualify for Free or Reduced category meals.  Free and Reduced meal applications are available online at https://www.lunchapplication.com/ and paper applications are available at each school site.  We encourage all parents to fill out these applications. This data helps our schools to get grants and provide teachers.  For the 2020-2021 school year only, Reduced category meals will qualify as FREE, so if you qualify for reduced category meals on your application you would not have to pay for breakfast or lunch for the 2020-2021 school year only.  

  • ACS will continue to provide curbside “grab-and-go” breakfast and lunch meals for all AVA (Avery Virtual Academy) students.  We will send home packed meals on Tuesday for all students for remote learning days on (Wednesday). No curbside meal service will be available on Wednesday.   More details on curbside “grab and go” meals will be coming soon.

TRANSPORTATION?

  • Avery  County Schools is committed to providing safe and effective transportation services to all students.

  • ACS buses will be limited to  twenty-two (22) students on a sixty-six (66) passenger bus, and (18) students on a 54 passenger bus. .

  • All students from Kindergarten through 12th grade, all teachers, staff and adult visitors must wear face coverings on a bus. 

  • No more than one passenger can be seated per school bus seat – consideration is allowed for students of the same household to share one seat.

  • ACS will utilize the written parent/guardian attestation form for all students. The Attestation Form will be coming home with students the first day of school.

  • Individuals must stay home and not board transportation if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone positive for COVID-19.

  • Students will have a health screening upon arrival to school.

  • If a rider becomes sick during the day a parent must pick them up immediately from school. A sick student will not be allowed to ride the bus back home from school. 

  • ACS will provide hand sanitizer on all buses.  

  • ACS will clean and disinfect transportation vehicles regularly and will ensure the safe and correct use and storage of cleaning and disinfection products.

  • ACS will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the vehicle after each morning and afternoon route. ACS will clean, sanitize, and disinfect equipment being transported to the schools (car seats, seat belts, wheelchairs, walkers, and adaptive equipment).

  • Whenever and wherever practicable, doors and windows will be kept open when cleaning the vehicle and in between trips to allow the vehicles to thoroughly air out.

  • Whenever and wherever practicable, windows will be kept open while the vehicle is in motion to increase air circulation, if appropriate and safe.

HOW WILL THE SCHOOLS BE CLEANED?

  • Avery County Schools is committed to a clean and safe learning environment for all students, faculty and staff.

  • Custodial staff will ensure that every school is clean and disinfected every day.

  • ACS is committed to provide adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene in our schools (soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, tissues).  

  • ACS will provide hand sanitizer to each school and each classroom.  Staff members will systematically and frequently check and refill hand sanitizers.

  • Each school site will develop a schedule for daily cleaning and disinfecting. 

  • Classrooms will be disinfected on a daily basis with a school-wide deep cleaning taking place every Wednesday and Friday afternoon.  

  • All cleaning materials will be kept secure and out of reach of children to ensure the safe and correct use and storage of cleaning and disinfection products.

  • All cleaning products will be used according to the directions on the label.

  • Cleaning products will not be used near children, and staff will ensure that there is adequate ventilation when using these products to prevent children from inhaling harmful fumes.

  • ACS will establish a schedule for and perform ongoing and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high touch areas with an EPA approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) – door  handles, stair rails, faucet handles, toilet handles, playground equipment, light switches, desks, tables, chairs, kitchen countertops, cafeteria and service tables, carts, and trays.

WILL STAFF AND STUDENTS PRACTICE HEALTHY HYGIENE ROUTINES?

  • Hygiene routines for Avery County Schools faculty, staff and students will be routinely practiced.

  • ACS faculty and staff will teach, reinforce and model appropriate handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds, with friction, and the safe use of hand sanitizer.

  • ACS faculty and staff will increase monitoring and model basic hygiene protocols by:

    • Supervising the use of hand sanitizer by students

    • Encouraging students and staff to cough and sneeze into their elbow or to cover with tissue

    • Ensuring that children with skin reactions to hand sanitizer use soap and water

    • Reinforcing handwashing during key times such as, but not limited to:

      • upon arrival in the morning

      • before, during and after preparing food

      • before eating food

      • after using the toilet

      • after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

      • after touching objects with bare hands which have been handled by other individuals

  • Signage regarding appropriate handwashing protocols will be posted.

  • CDC and NC DHHS health and safety signage and social distancing markers will be posted at each site for use.

  • ACS faculty and staff will incorporate frequent handwashing and sanitation breaks into classroom activity.

  • Hand sanitizer will be available if handwashing is not convenient or readily available.

WHAT WILL ARRIVAL AND DISMISSAL LOOK LIKE?

  • ACS faculty and staff will assist with monitoring arrival and dismissal to discourage congregating and ensure students go straight from a vehicle to their classrooms and vice versa.   

  • Direct contact between parents and ACS faculty and staff will be limited.

  • Areas in which lines are anticipated will be marked six-feet (6) apart with decals or tape.

  • Students, faculty, staff and visitors will have a Health Check before entering the school buildings each morning.

WILL SCHOOLS HAVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS?

Avery County Schools will be working with the YMCA and WAMY to provide after school services. More information will be provided by these organizations soon.

WHAT DOES AVERY VIRTUAL LEARNING LOOK LIKE?

Avery Virtual Learning Information – Elementary

This upcoming year 2020-2021 Avery County Schools will begin offering virtual/online learning.  We recommend face to face instruction as the best option for our students, however, if you are interested in your child participating in our virtual options, please read the information below.  This information can assist you in deciding if virtual learning is the best option for your child.

Is virtual learning the same as remote learning that took place from March until June?

No. Virtual learning is a choice for students to receive instruction and complete classwork through an online platform.  Teachers will work virtually with students to give instruction and for students to complete and turn in classwork.

What grade levels and subjects will be covered with elementary virtual learning?

Students in grades K-5 will be able to participate in virtual learning.  Reading and mathematics will be the focus subject areas.  Other subjects such as science and social studies will be embedded during reading and math instruction.  Special areas such as art, music, and p.e. will not be included in virtual learning.

What would a typical day be like for my child during virtual learning?

Students will be required to participate daily in the virtual classroom.  Each day students will complete a form to count as attendance for the day.  The form will only be available from 8:00a.m. – 8:00p.m. each day.  If the student does not complete the form each day they will be counted absent for the day.

Students in grades K-2 will have approximately three hours each day of class time.  Of the three hours,  60-75 minutes will be devoted to online screen time. The other time will be devoted to completing required assignments.

Students in grades 3-5 will have approximately four hours each day of class time.  Of the four hours, 150 minutes will be devoted to online screen time with the remaining time devoted to completing required assignments. 

Students in grades K-1 will use Google classroom to receive instruction and interact with their teacher.  Students in grades 2-5 will use Powerschool Learning (Haiku) to receive instruction and interact with their teacher.  

Avery Virtual Learning Information – Middle and High Schools

6th-12th Grade Virtual Learning Plan

Virtual Learning Delivery is not the same as the remote learning plan “C” if school is closed or not in session.

Students will stay enrolled at their current assigned school even if they are being served in virtual learning. 

They will be able to pick up lunch at curbside delivery and can participate in sports and extracurriculars if they are allowed to (depending on other regulations).  

Delivery of instruction will be online via APEX learning program and will require internet access. Families who do not have internet will be required to ensure your student can get to internet spots Monday-Friday.

Students will make a 9 week (45 day) commitment to online learning. At the end of each 9 weeks students can elect to return to the instruction of their assigned school. However, if during the nine weeks the base school switches to remote learning Plan “C”, the online virtual learning students will stay in their current learning environment until the end of the grading period. 

Students and parents will be emailed a report by the teacher every Friday with work that was satisfactorily completed, incomplete assignments and attendance. 

The school will call a student’s house after he/she misses 3 class check-ins.  A welfare check will be made if a parent or guardian can not be reached by phone. 

Students will be assigned a new computer and will be shown how to log into APEX learning and the online instructional format.

Families are to ensure each student has a place to work online. 

When videoing teachers students should not be on their bed and they should be dressed for school

Pacing for all online classes will match all face to face instruction to ensure timely completion.

 Middle School 

Students will receive CORE instruction during virtual learning in Math, ELA, Science and Social Studies.

 This will require students to have interaction with teachers for instructional periods at specific times of the week. 

This schedule will be shared once enrollment numbers  are determined. These will be mandatory times for attendance and academic purposes.

 High School

Core classes will have hybrid learning sessions where the student will have to meet with the teacher online. 

Electives will be altered to fit the online offerings on APEX or through Mayland Community College. 

If students pick a college online class then they will stay in that online class until completion.

Some extra high school electives may be possible once we know enrollment numbers.

CAN HOMESCHOOL STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN THE VIRTUAL LEARNING OPTION IN AVERY COUNTY?

If you live in Avery County, you have the option of enrolling in the Avery County School System. Once enrolled, your student would be able to select the Virtual Learning Option.  For this option, internet access is strongly recommended.  A list of internet hot spots will be provided if you do not have internet access at your home.  ACS will provide devices for all students participating in the virtual option in Avery County.  The guidelines and applications for this virtual learning option will be available by July 24, and the deadline for applications will be August 5th. If you have any questions regarding enrolling your student in the Avery County School System please contact Mrs. Bev Baird at 828-733-6006.

 

ARE ALL STUDENTS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE VIRTUAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITY?

The Virtual Learning opportunity is open to all K-12 students in Avery County. Students enrolled through Virtual Learning will still be enrolled at their current school as assigned by ACS.

IF I CHOOSE VIRTUAL LEARNING, DO I HAVE TO COMMIT FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR?

No, the expectation would be that K-8 students will commit to a 45 day (9 week schedule) and 9-12 students will commit to the first semester. 

WHEN IS THE DEADLINE TO SIGN UP AT AVERY VIRTUAL LEARNING OPTION?

The deadline for registering is set for 5 p.m. on Friday, August 5th, 2020.  The application for the Virtual Learning Option can be found on the Avery County Schools website. 

WILL STUDENTS CHOOSING VIRTUAL LEARNING BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN SPORTS AND OTHER EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES?

Yes, students will be allowed to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities as face to face students. ACS will follow all regulations by the NCHSAA and DHHS guidelines. 

For more information, please visit https://www.nchsaa.org/

WILL STUDENTS HAVE ACCESS TO MEALS IF CHOOSING THE VIRTUAL LEARNING OPTION?

Yes, meals will be available daily for curbside pick-up at their home school.  There will be more information coming soon detailing the meal pick-up.

WHAT SAFETY MEASURES WILL SCHOOLS TAKE TO KEEP STUDENTS AND TEACHERS SAFE?

  • If a student has a temperature of 100.4 or higher, they must stay home. Students must also stay home if they have the following symptoms: fever or chills, a new cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell.

  • If a student or teacher doesn’t feel well, they must stay home from school.

  • While in school, teachers will be teaching hand-washing in the classroom and will have hand-washing breaks throughout the school day. Students will wash their hands before and after eating, after using the restroom and after touching shared objects.

  • Avery County schools will provide hand-sanitizing stations at every school entrance and exit, in the cafeteria, in every class and on every bus and transportation vehicle.

StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit K-12

The above document is interim guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services detailing health screening procedures and other health and safety information relating to schools.

 

 

 

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