Students, parents, and teachers all have questions about what this school year will bring. 2020 has been unprecedented to say the least, so we did some digging to help break down the plans of school districts in the mountains.
What we can all plan for is another year of learning + growing,no matter if students are in-person or virtual.
The first day of school will look different this year. So let’s take a look at what we know – plus your tips on getting back to the school year while staying safe + healthy.
Who said what? 🗣️ Governor Roy Cooper officially selected Plan B(a mix of virtual + in-person learning) for the school year on July 14. Schools + parents may choose to follow Plan C(all-remote learning), but cannot choose a plan that is more lenient.
🗣️ The CDC released guidelines for both in-person and virtual learning for parents + teachers on July 23, including resources for navigating stress + uncertainty.
What are the districts doing? Here’s what public schools in Asheville and WNC are planning.
Asheville City Schools Start date: Aug. 17 Method: Virtual for the first nine weeks The school board unanimously voted to elect Plan C(fully remote) for the first nine weeks, until Oct. 23. Morning instruction will begin at 8:30 a.m. (K-8) or 9 a.m. (9-12) and teachers will switch between whole class lessons and office hours or small group sessions. After lunch, students will continue group work or have individual meetings with faculty. Note: Pre-kindergarten will open Aug. 17 in person with reduced capacity.
Buncombe County Schools Start date: Aug. 19 Method: Return to Learn Beyond There will be up to two weeks of in-person onboarding(one week for K-8; two weeks for 9-12), followed by a transition to virtual learning by week three. Remote learning will continue until Sept. 28, at which point a decision will be made about the remainder of the semester. Parents may elect Plan C, all-virtual learning, in which case children will complete onboarding remotely.
○ NC’s Department of Health and Human Services reported atotal of 123,878 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina as of Sunday afternoon. 1,657 cases and 46 deaths have been reported in Buncombe County. Check stats for other counties, total tests, and more in NChere.
○ Wondering why quarantine times vary from county to county? According to Steve Smith,Henderson County’s Health Director, all counties strive to consistently use CDC guidelines. Confusion can occur regarding the timeframes for quarantine + isolation. The 14- day timeframe for quarantine originates from the date of exposure, while the 10-day timeframe for isolation originates from the onset of sickness or the date a test showed positive results. (WLOS)
○ Tourism is returning to the area, and officials with the Buncombe County TDA say tourists are becoming more likely to wear face masks than some locals. Demographically, studies show those less apt to wear face masks are rural males with less education + affluence and who are not ethnically diverse. Recent studies show the percentage of Americans that support wearing face coverings continues to rise. As such, the TDA plans to target visitors who are most likely to adhere to public health recommendations. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
○ Some local business owners, including The Bier Garden’s Nathan Wardell, support Gov. Cooper’s statewide curfew on alcohol sales as a way to minimize + slow the spread of COVID-19. The order does not apply to grocery + convenience stores or other entities permitted to sell alcohol for off-site consumption. The curfew on alcohol sales went into effect Friday. (WLOS)
○ The New Adventure Learning Center in Brevard announced they will be closed through Mon., Aug. 3 after a child who attends the center tested positive for COVID-19. Officials are contacting those that were exposed directly with instructions on what to do. Those who are not contacted do not require quarantine or testing unless they exhibit symptoms. (WLOS)
○ The federally-funded Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) exists to help needy folks with their heating + cooling bills, may help those needing assistance since Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order preventing landlords + utility companies from cutting utilities off expired Fri. The program will be available this fall, and applications are currently being accepted at local DSS offices for the Crisis Intervention Program. Find more info on the program here. (WLOS)
Click the button below for local resources regarding the coronavirus.
AVL Coronavirus resources
Hey, there. Looking for today’s #MustDo events? In accordance with the
CDC’s recommendations regarding public gatherings, we have decided to postpone public event coverage for the time being. We look forward to bringing you Asheville’s #MustDo events soon (until then, feel free to submit your virtual events
Opening ○ Grail Moviehouse has signed a temporary lease at 17 Foundy St. in the RAD Foundation. The location will have one screen. There’s no opening date yet, as Grail is waiting for Phase 3 before reopening. 🎥
WaterCooler ○ Asheville City + Buncombe County Schools will allow athletes to kneel during the national anthem. Kneeling signifies a silent protest is protected as non-disruptive freedom of expression. The school districts are following the lead of national sports orgs, including the NBA, where athletes are kneeling. 🏀 (Asheville Citizen-Times)
Civic ○ Former county commissioner Ellen Frost has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors after facing charges that included federal program fraud + mail fraud after conspiring with former county manager Wanda Greene. She plans to enter a guilty plea for one charge of conspiracy to commit federal program fraud. If accepted, she will face no other charges and will be sentenced to home confinement.(Asheville Citizen-Times)
Community ○ Pisgah Legal Services will host their Virtual Justice Matters Tour on Thurs., Aug. 27 from 12-1 p.m. The free event will focus on the need for justice in our region and will examine how civic legal aid can be an effective anti-poverty tool. Aug. 27 is also Pisgah Legal Giving Day. The org is partnering with ABIPA, which promotes equity for African Americans, and funds donated will be split between the two. ⚖️
State ○ Residents in 20 of the state’s Eastern counties will benefit from a new $17 million program providing financial assistance for people who need help to successfully quarantine. Benefits will include a one-time payment of $400 per person or $800 if the isolating person has a dependent. The program will also include services like grocery + medication deliveries and pandemic supplies, like cleaners + masks. Federal CARES Act money will fund the program. 💸 (News & Observer) ○ A state legislative committee has approved a model of a statue of the late Rev. Billy Graham to replace one of Charles Aycock, a governor who also led white supremacist campaigns. The plan to replace Aycock’s statue with one of Graham has been in the works since 2015, but a bill introduced this month by the Democratic-led House Appropriations Committee which seeks to remove all Confederate busts + statues would speed up the removal process. 🙏 (WLOS)
Dish ○ JAWBREAKING’s latest interview in partnership with AVLtoday is with Diaz Restaurant Group – a.k.a. the folks behind Salsa’s, Modesto, Bomba, and (Editor Ali’s must-have)Hector’s Hot Sauce. Check out the intimate convo with the founders of the family-run biz, including Aimee’s hospitality background, Hector’s memories of selling croquettes in Puerto Rico, the ‘90s in Asheville (including when Britney Spears was president) + more. 🌶
Number ○ 160. The total acres purchased by Foothills Conservancy in the Wilderness Gateway Trail Corridor. The property is situated along Laurel Creek and NC Highway 18 in Burke County. The purchase is part of a larger land acquisition project for the future trail corridor. 🌄
FeaturedEvent ○ The Asheville Theatre is hosting a virtual fashion showfor local designers to compete in a Project Runway-esque show. Tickets are $25, with proceeds from the event benefiting the theatre. The virtual show will take place on Aug. 8 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased in advance here. Ⓟ