Watauga Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott Issues Statement to Staff Regarding School Closure

Published Monday, March 16, 2020 at 8:45 am

Dear WCS Staff,

Thank you for your patience as we continue to interpret the Governor’s decree to close schools for students for at least the next two weeks. After consulting with principals, district staff, and leaders at the state level, I am announcing the following to help guide us through the foreseeable future:

Staff expectations

  • Monday, March 16 will be an Optional Teacher Workday. All staff should report to their assigned work locations. If you are experiencing a chronic health condition or other factors that you believe would put you at serious risk by reporting to work, please contact your principal or supervisor immediately. All other employees should report to work.

  • This entire week, and for the foreseeable future, days will be classified as Optional Teacher Workdays. Staff will report to work and work full schedules.

  • Staff who are sick or exhibiting symptoms similar to those identified by the CDC as consistent with COVID-19 should not report to work and contact your principal or supervisor immediately. CDC guidelines may be found here.

  • Staff may bring their own children to work with them as long as the children are healthy and the children remain in the classroom or designated work space under the direct supervision of the parent. Employees should not bring other children to work with them. We are exploring plans to provide free childcare to employees’ children on site in the near future.  

Instruction and remote learning

  • The week of March 16-20 will be used for teachers to prepare resources, materials, and communication for students.

  • The district’s remote learning plan will be implemented starting Monday, March 23. 

  • The emphasis on remote learning at this time will be enrichment and supplemental activities to keep students academically engaged. 

  • Expectations for contact time, access to resources, and expectations for grading have been communicated from the Curriculum and Instruction team. 

Facilities and operations

  • School facilities will be closed to the public (except for employees and their children) on Monday and Tuesday, March 16-17. This is to give staff uninterrupted time to work and to ensure healthy conditions for staff who have health concerns. 

  • The after school and Holiday/Snow Day program are closed until further notice. 

  • Custodians, maintenance staff, and bus drivers will be taking this opportunity to clean and sanitize all schools and buses. Bus drivers will hear specifically from Mr. Lyons.

  • School facilities will be open for parents to pick up student belongings and check out laptop computers (if a computer is needed) at the following times:

    • Wednesday, March 18

      •  8th grade student families / 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

      • 7th grade student families / 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

      • 6th grade student families / 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    • Thursday, March 19

      • 5th grade student families / 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.

      • 4th grade student families / 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

      • 3rd grade student families / 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. p.m. 

    • Friday, March 20 (No devices will be assigned to PreK-2nd Grade Students)

      • 2nd grade student families / 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.  

      • 1st grade student families 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.

      • Kindergarten and Pre-k families / 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    • MAKE UP SESSION Friday, March 20

      • 3 p.m. – 6 p.m for all grade levels.

  • Parents who need to pick up medication from the school nurse should call the school office and make arrangements to collect medication at one of the times above. If medication is needed sooner, then parents should call the school office to arrange a time to visit. 

Child Nutrition

  • Child Nutrition staff will begin food distribution starting Tuesday, March 17. Distribution sites will include Hardin Park, Green Valley, Mabel, and Bethel schools. Any child in the community ages 1-18 can receive a free meal at these sites. More information will be made public soon about the hours of distribution.

  • Families who cannot travel to receive a meal for their children should call their school to make delivery arrangements.

These decisions are my best effort to continue services for our students, minimize the financial impact to all employees, and ensure the health and safety of everyone in our school community. This is a dynamic and changing situation, and I will communicate with you again if these plans change. Please communicate directly with your principal or supervisor if you have specific questions about how these procedures apply to you.

Meanwhile, please take care of yourselves and family members and let me know if I can do anything to help you. 

Very sincerely,

Scott

 
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