Cooper:In-School Instruction Canceled for Remainder of the 2020 School Year


At home learning will continue through the end of the school year for North Carolina.

North Carolina K-12 public schools will continue remote learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

Governor Cooper and education officials making that announcement Friday afternoon.

Cooper also announced a budget plan to invest 1.4 billion dollars into the state's COVID-19 recovery plan.

Included in that plan is $75 million to support testing, tracing and trends analysis as well as have the Personal Protective Equipment needed to help North Carolina move into Phase 1 of easing restrictions...a phase that won't start until at least May 8th, when the state's Stay at Home order has expired.

You can see the full statement from the Governor's office below as well as a statement from Asheville City Schools.

"RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper today announced that North Carolina K-12 public schools will continue remote learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Cooper was joined by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson and the Chair of the State Board of Education Eric Davis for the announcement. 

“School buildings will stay closed to students for this school year, but school isn’t over,” said Governor Cooper. “The decision to finish the year by remote learning was not made lightly, but it is the right thing to do to protect our students, teachers and communities. This is a difficult time for many children and parents, and I am grateful for all the educators, administrators, support staff and parents who have gone the extra mile to keep children learning.”

Cooper underscored the needs for schools to continue to provide school nutrition programs now and into the summer, and to be looking ahead and planning for when it is safe to re-convene schools in person. This includes how to get students back on track, especially those who have not been able to access remote learning or were already behind when schools closed to in-person instruction.

To help students without home internet access online learning opportunities, Cooper today announced a partnership to equip more school buses with Wi-Fi. School buses with Wi-Fi will travel to areas that lack internet so students can turn in assignments, download materials, and connect with teachers. AT&T is providing 100 hot spots, Duke Energy Foundation is providing 80, and additional partners are expected to join the effort.

State public health officials are developing safety guidelines for schools to follow when classes are able to convene in person, as well as guidance for summer camps and other groups that use school facilities.

BUDGET

Cooper also released a recommended budget plan to invest $1.4 billion in emergency funds to help North Carolina respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for this proposal would come predominantly from the state’s share of the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) and would be appropriated by the North Carolina General Assembly in its upcoming session.

The budget package is intended to fund immediate needs in three main areas:

  • Public health and safety
  • Continuity of operations for education and other state government services
  • Assistance to small businesses and local governments. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every North Carolinian. This emergency funding proposal makes strong investments in public health, schools, local governments and small businesses to respond to this unprecedented crisis,” said Cooper. 

Governor Cooper and State Budget Director Charlie Perusse worked with state agencies, local governments, and other stakeholders to identify what immediate COVID-related needs were unmet by existing federal and commercial assistance to build a budget proposal that is responsive and responsible. 

Key investments from this proposal include:

  • $75 million to support testing, tracing and trends analysis as well as have the Personal Protective Equipment needed to help North Carolina move into Phase 1 of easing restrictions;
  • $78 million for school nutrition to continue to serve as many as 500,000 meals a day to children who depend on these meals to meet basic nutrition needs typically met in school;
  • $75 million for rural and underserved communities and health care providers that are particularly hard hit by COVID-19; 
  • $243 million for public schools to enhance remote learning and get ready for the next school year in a “new normal.” Funds are a joint request from DPI and the State Board of Education.
  • $52 million to the UNC system and private colleges to help with remote learning and COVID-19 impacts;
  • $300 million to assist local governments, distributed based partially on population and partially on acute need. 

“We know that people are hurting, businesses are struggling, and local governments are facing severe shortages. That’s why we have to act now to get resources in the hands of people and organizations that provide vital support,” said Cooper.

Governor Cooper and State Budget Director Charlie Perusse have been in discussions with leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly for several weeks to develop a consensus COVID-19 budget package that can be approved swiftly when the legislature returns next week. Elements of this package have already been announced as having consensus support, including a significant investment in an already operating bridge loan program for small businesses through the Golden L.E.A.F. Foundation. 

“This plan is a first step, and while it may not have all that North Carolina needs moving forward I present it in the spirit of compromise and consensus so that we can get relief to families fast,” said Cooper."

Statement from Buncombe County Schools

"Dear BCS Families and Staff,

We hope this message finds you as well as possible during these difficult and unprecedented times. We do want to inform you that Governor Cooper announced this afternoon that all public school buildings in North Carolina will remain closed for in-person instruction for the remainder of this school year. Under this order, all BCS school facilities, playgrounds, and athletic fields remain closed. School buildings are closed but learning continues.

BCS Virtual Days will continue through the end of our academic year

June 3 is our last student day.Teachers will continue to connect students through remote learning which includes providing online material, print material, or conferencing by video, email, or telephone. Our schools will provide information on picking up additional take-home kits for families who need them. Instructions for turning in any paper packet work and digital devices including Homework Hotspots back to your school will follow in the coming weeks. Additional supplemental resources continue to be added in NCEDCLOUD (e.g. Discovery Education Experience including Coding, BrainPop K-8). Students can also create MangoLanguages.com (robust language learning platform) accounts through their Buncombe County Public Library Student Accounts and access eBooks through Sora. Find more information on virtualdays.buncombeschools.org site.

For high school students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses, virtual AP testing is scheduled for May 11-22 and will be conducted online. Click HERE to learn more.

New Student Enrollment

We are enrolling new students, Kindergarten through 12th grade, including our Kindergarten Dual Language programs! Our procedure has been modified to be completely online. Please visit Enroll.BuncombeSchools.org to learn more. 

School meals and supply delivery 

Our open meal pick-up sites and meal delivery options will continue through June 3 as will our Family Resource Center. In the coming weeks, we’ll provide further details on our summer meal service.

We’ll continue serving breakfast from 7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays to anyone 2-18 years of age at the following locations (weekend meals will be distributed on Fridays during lunch times at all sites):

• Black Mountain Primary

• Charles D. Owen High

• Emma Elementary

• Haw Creek Elementary

• Hominy Valley Elementary

• Johnston Elementary

• North Windy Ridge Intermediate

• Oakley Elementary

• W.W. Estes Elementary

• Weaverville Elementary

• West Buncombe Elementary

• Woodfin Elementary

Parents, you are also encouraged to fill out a Free/Reduced Meal Form, especially if your financial situation has been affected by the pandemic. You may do that online. Also, please reach out to your school’s data manager if you have a change of address to add to your form.

End-of-Year Events

We know that graduation and prom are important milestone events that are important to our families, especially for our seniors and those transitioning from their elementary to intermediate or middle schools. We do not have answers yet for you for all of these milestones but discussions are underway. 

Gathering personal belongings

Our schools will announce dates and times for families to pick-up any remaining materials and personal belongings that they may have left at school before our buildings were closed in mid-March.

Social/Emotional Support

We understand how difficult this situation may be for our families, students, and staff. There are many resources available to help assist. School counselors and school social workers are working virtually to support students by teaching skills to minimize stress as well as individual counseling. Many students have the option to continue their school-based mental health work with their therapists virtually. Staff members have access to our Employee Assistance Program, provided by EAN (Employee Assistance Network). If you have a student struggling with mental health, please contact your school counselor.

Technology Assistance 

Our Technology Department has addressed many of our students’ challenges to internet access or connecting with technology for their classes and will continue to do so. You may “ZenDesk” chat with our technology team Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. via this link.

Please watch for further communication and check our website for updates. We understand you may have many more questions. District and school leaders continue having conversations with county and state officials to find those answers. Please reach out to your principal and we will work together to provide further guidance.

Thank you for your ongoing support as we navigate these challenging times together."

Statement from Asheville City Schools-

"Good Afternoon Students, Staff and Families. This is Bobbie Short, Interim Superintendent. 

As you have probably heard, Governor Cooper announced just moments ago that public school districts across the state will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.  

We recognize that the current situation presents many challenges for educators, students, parents and families. No matter how difficult and unprecedented these current circumstances are, we want you to know that we are here for you. We are committed to our students, and we will remain committed to helping them be successful through the rest of this closure.

Remote Learning to Continue

Although our school buildings are to remain closed, at-home learning will continue through our last scheduled day of school, which according to our calendar, is May 29th. We will continue to adjust and administer our at-home and virtual learning plans. It is our expectation that each student will continue to be actively engaged in the learning packets and lessons that are being shared. We are committed to doing all we can to continue the student-teacher relationship. As much as possible, we will continue to provide direct contact with our students on a regular basis. 

Food Distribution Sites

Meals will continue to be distributed to students Monday through Thursday across our eightFood Distribution Sites. Meals include lunch and the following day’s breakfast.As a reminder our School Nutrition Department is operating on a four-day service plan. This means we are serving meals as normal each Monday - Thursday, and students receive double meals on Thursdays. This ensures families still have both breakfast and lunch on Fridays, while giving our hardworking staff a much deserved opportunity to receive professional development while working from home one day a week.  

Grading 

The North Carolina State Board of Education met on Thursday, April 23rd and approved guidelines for grading Kindergarten - 11th Grade for the 2019-2020 school year. As the guidelines are grade level specific, please know that you will be hearing more from our Elementary and Secondary Directors this Sunday evening.  

Family Resource Center 

Additionally, we wanted to let you know that our Family Resource Center continues to expand its offerings as the coronavirus’ impact on our community increases. Please contact our dedicated team at (828) 350-6133 should you or someone you know need assistance with food boxes, school supplies, hygiene supplies, diapers, wipes, or laundry detergent due to financial hardship. Someone will be there ready to take your call and assist you between the hours of 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM, Monday thru Friday. Additionally, after hearing from many families asking how they could support our efforts, the Student Services Department has put togetherthis helpful documentto answer your questions. 

Please watch for further communication and check our website for updates athttps://www.ashevillecityschools.net/coronavirus

Once again, thank you for your patience, understanding, and flexibility during this unprecedented time. We will get through this together. Please continue to stay safe, practice social distancing, and remain at home as much as possible. We eagerly await the time when it is safe to be with each other again."


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