Gov. Closes All Public Schools For 2 Weeks, At Least – Brevard NC
Last updated 3/19/2020 at 10:09pm
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In an effort to deter the spread of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Transylvania County Schools (TCS) announced Saturday that TCS schools – along with public schools across the state – will be closed for at least two weeks beginning today.
Today was not to be a virtual day, according to TCS Public Information Officer and Community Relations Coordinator Kevin Smith: schools will be closed for both staff and students.
Administrators will be meeting this morning to coordinate plans not only inside the school system, but also with its partner agencies, Smith explained.
“We will take at least one day to organize our logistics for things like virtual days, alternate feeding and other issues that affect our staff, students and families,” he said.
However, schools will be accessible today for parents to pick up anything children may have left at school, including medications, clothing, Chromebooks, etc.
“We will do everything in our power to make this an easy transition for all our families,” Smith said.
At this time, Smith said they were unable to offer information about local organizations that run their schedules around school system, such as the Boys & Girls Club, the Department of Parks and Recreation, Sharing House and local day cares.
“It’s been said many times, but we are in uncharted waters. So our team will be busy pulling together answers to all the questions people have as quickly as possible,” Smith said.
“Our county health department has done an excellent job keeping us informed, and every family should find information there to help them answer questions in the days ahead,” he said.
“We will also be posting daily updates to our page at http://www.tcsnc.org/health, because we know how important it is for families to stay connected to schools, not just for instruction, but for us all to partner in caring for the children in our community,” said Smith.
TCS expects to be looking at virtual days in the future, Smith said.
In this respect, the local school system is very well prepared: TCS pioneered virtual days for the state, and its teachers have five years of experience in the field.
“While we’re really proud of this, ultimately we’re just glad that students and families have this as a resource, and we’re looking forward to getting more info out in the days to come,” said Smith.
The announcement to close schools was made following a live-stream announcement from Gov. Cooper and public health and safety officials made on the N.C. Department of Public Safety’s storm update website.
Live updates and archives of previous live-streams can be found http://www.ncdps.gov/storm-update.
As of press time, the governor's live stream had not been archived on the ncdps page, but could be viewed on the governor’s Facebook page, www. facebook.com/NCgovernor/.
During the live stream, Smith said Cooper promised support for issues like feeding children, childcare and support.
More than half of the county’s 3,400 students receive free or reduced lunches, Smith said.
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted a waiver to school systems that will allow them flexibility in using yellow buses and school bus drivers to deliver food, as well as creating school-based or curbside feeding programs,” he said.
“We know that any disruption to a family’s routine is going to make doing the basics that much harder,” said Smith. “So, even though we’re not in school, our teachers, counselors, social workers and school resource officers will all be helping our administrators do the best for our children and families every day.
“The single most important thing at this time is for people to take care of themselves and avoid spreading infections,” he continued. “We can’t say it loudly enough. The reason for this school closure is to prevent the spread of infection.
“We need to wash our hands thoroughly, cover our cough with our elbow, and stay home when we’re not feeling well.”
The local health department is encouraging everyone who has flu-like symptoms to call their health care provider but not to drive there un-announced.
“This is a really important time for everyone to practice good hygiene, so that we can flatten the curve and slow the spread of infection at any point in time,” said Smith. “If we all do this together, it will help us stay healthier and come out of this trying time stronger without putting undue pressure on our local health system.”
The Brevard Academy Board of Directors was scheduled to meet remotely at 2 p.m. today to further discuss plans for the students.
The school office was open today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for parents to pick up any medication their child may have kept at the school.
According to the school’s website, by this afternoon the school “will have a list of high-quality resources and activities that students and families can engage in order to keep our Bulldogs learning and promote scholarly habits. “This list of resources will be posted to our website, available in a distribution tube on campus, posted via social media, and available in local libraries.”
The school’s website also states, “Our goal is to begin distance learning starting on March 30. We will be working with parents to slowly and intentionally roll out this new form of learning over these next two weeks.
“Our immediate goal is to support you during this transition, provide stability to remove stress, and establish high-quality engaging learning oppor-tunities.”
School administration will continue to communicate to parents and the public through its website and Facebook.
Parents who have any questions about the school’s closure should email [email protected]