Governor Extends Phase 2 Order; Additional Safety Measures Added: What the Extended Stay at Home Order Means for CCS Staff & Student
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Governor Extends Phase 2 Order; Additional Safety Measures Added
Governor Cooper extended Phase 2 of the Safer at Home order until July 17. In this order, we have been given new expectations that apply to all employees in our offices and our schools, and to our students if we’re able to return to school on August 17. The most significant change for CCS is that we have to now wear masks in all our buildings. Below are highlights of the processes and procedures CCS has put in place to comply with the governor’s order.
Effective Monday, June 29, for all CCS employees and visitors to all of our buildings:
Preparing for the Return to School
Among the changes impacting students as a result of the current order is that masks are required for all middle school and high school students inside school buildings, and anywhere on school grounds, including outside. Masks will also be required while traveling on buses or other transportation vehicles. Cloth face coverings remain strongly encouraged for elementary school students, if appropriate for that child, but are not required for them.
Governor Cooper is expected to announce tomorrow under which plan schools are to reopen on August 17. Our team is continuing to create drafts for the Governor's Return to School Plans A, B, and C. As always, we will continue to update you as we know more.
We miss our students and hope to see them back soon! We are hopeful that the additional safety measures will help the numbers trend down so that the governor will open schools in Plan A or B for the fall term.
You can view NCDPI’s and NCDHHS’ “Lighting Our Way Forward: North Carolina’s Guidebook to Reopening Schools” by clicking here.
Have a great evening!
June 29, 2020
Dear Students, Parents, and Community Members,
I have received multiple reports from parents and community members that certain students enrolled in Catawba County Schools have posted on social media very disturbing, inappropriate, insensitive, and racist videos. I am both saddened and disappointed by this type of behavior. I want to make it absolutely clear that Catawba County Schools does not, and will not, tolerate our students engaging in hateful speech and racist behavior on our school campuses and at school events.
Technology has made it possible for people to interact and communicate with lightning speed, which can be helpful when this interaction is kind and respectful. However, hateful speech/actions and racism are horrible and harmful, no matter the perspective. It is harmful to the person(s) at which it is aimed, harmful to those who witness it, and harmful to our communities as a whole because it impedes having empathy for and communication with others. Furthermore, it is especially troubling among children who may lack the social and emotional maturity to understand how to cope with it, process it, and understand its impact on others.
As adults and leaders in this community, we should do everything we can to eradicate hateful speech/actions and racism.
I urge all parents and adults to take the time to educate your children on the appropriate use of social media and the harmful impact of this type of inappropriate behavior. Please educate them about engaging in online communications responsibly by identifying hateful or racist speech and actions, and not posting it, “liking,” “tagging,” forwarding, re-tweeting or sharing others’ posts. We should also be diligently monitoring our children’s use of and access to social media platforms on a regular basis.
In the event you or your children encounter hate speech/actions or racist behavior on social media, you should immediately report it to the appropriate social media platform on which it is posted. In the meantime, rest assured knowing that Catawba County Schools is committed to implementing additional education programs regarding cultural and racial sensitivity when our students return.
Finally, I am grateful to the numerous parents and community members for their vigilance in speaking out against the harmful and inappropriate videos that have been posted recently. Making our administration aware of these behaviors helps us shape future educational programs regarding cultural and racial sensitivity.
Please continue to be kind, respectful, and safe!
Matthew W. Stover, Ed.D.
Catawba County Schools
Information about Reopening Schools on Aug. 17, High School/Middle School Athletics, and Driver Education
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We have three important updates for you:
School Reopening Plan
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction released a 121-page document called "Lighting Our Way Forward" with directions to school districts for reopening school buildings. The state requires that we prepare three plans for the 2020-21 school year with varying degrees of social distancing.
Here's what you need to know about the reopening guidelines:
As educators, we know the best environment for our students to thrive and learn is to be in our classrooms, face-to-face with our teachers, and with minimal social distancing. We all hope that we can return to school in Plan A, but ultimately, the decision depends on all of us doing our part to slow the spread of this virus.
CCS families, please stay home if you can, but when you leave home, practice your 3 W's: Wear, Wait, Wash.
As we learn more from the state and we get further into our planning, we will update you. Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all of our staff and students.
High School/Middle School Athletics
We will begin conditioning sessions for our 7th-12th grade fall and winter sports teams on July 6 with strict health and safety guidelines set forth by the CDC, NC Department of Health & Human Services, and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA). (Click the links to view the guidance.) Once we get our fall and winter sports routines implemented, we will phase in our spring sports based on the most recent guidance from the NCHSAA. Here is a summary:
Watch this video from Scottie Houston, our new Director of Facilities, Athletics, & Safety explaining the safety protocols.
Thank you for your continued patience, kindness, and grace.
Emergency Remote Learning Survey: Surveying Parents, Students, & Staff to Learn How We Can Improve
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Thank you for your support of Catawba County Schools this school year. The Emergency Remote Learning Period that began March 23 required a monumental team effort between our teachers, staff, families, and students. In a matter of a week, we put together an Emergency Remote Learning Plan for our ~16,000 students, and our students and families quickly adapted to this brand-new style of learning. I am proud of what we all accomplished working together.
We know that remote learning will be a part of the 2020-21 school year. Our state legislators mandated five remote learning days as part of the regular school year. We are preparing for the possibility that our school buildings could be closed again or that we will have some sort of hybrid of remote learning and in-person instruction. Either way, we want to make sure we improve upon our remote learning so our students and staff can have the best possible experience learning in this new way.
We created a short, anonymous survey for our students, parents, and staff to learn what we did well and what needs work. Please click on the link below to complete your survey by Friday, June 5, 2020.
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2020-21 School Year Now Begins August 17, 2020
As you may know, last week Governor Roy Cooper signed into law Senate Bill 704 that affects school calendars across North Carolina as well as the school calendar previously approved by the Catawba County Schools Board of Education. SECTION 2.11.(b)(2) of NC Senate Bill 704 mandates that all North Carolina public schools following a traditional calendar (like we do) must start a week earlier on August 17, 2020, for the 2020-2021 school year. The law also states that the school year must end by June 11, 2021, and must also include five remote learning days. Our Board of Education will be working on adopting a new calendar in the coming weeks, but we wanted to let everyone know as soon as possible so you can plan for this state-mandated earlier start date.
Graduation Plans for High School Seniors
We are excited and proud to announce plans for graduation ceremonies for all of our high schools. Our principals and district leadership have worked hard with our graduating seniors and their parents to make sure that our seniors get the recognition they deserve despite the restrictions caused by the global pandemic. Each school surveyed seniors and their parents to determine what type of ceremony they preferred. Overwhelmingly, our students and parents chose a delayed in-person graduation ceremony on their own campus, over a virtual ceremony, or multiple smaller ceremonies held now.
Bandys, Bunker Hill, Fred T. Foard, and Maiden High School will all hold traditional ceremonies outdoors in late July and early August, providing that the state guidance doesn’t change by then. We have provided opportunities for an earlier graduation ceremony for students who have special circumstances that require them to graduate on their original date like our students who are pursuing a military career. You can find all the details in the chart at the end of this message.
Challenger Early College High School graduating seniors will participate in the CVCC graduation on the morning of August 1, then their high school graduation in the afternoon, again providing that the guidance has not changed.
St. Stephens High School will hold a modified graduation ceremony on May 29 and May 30 because their school will be under construction later this summer. They will hold 5 separate graduations of approximately 50 students each. Students will be spaced 10’ apart on the football field and families will be asked to be socially distanced in the stadium.
Catawba Rosenwald Education Center will be graduating nine seniors this year. Since their group is small enough to abide by current health guidelines, they will hold their graduation at CVCC on May 29.
We have been working closely with the Catawba County Department of Health to ensure that our plans adhere to all the current pandemic guidelines. All of our schools will work closely with local law enforcement and staff to ensure that students and families abide by the state and local guidelines to keep everyone healthy.
We are excited that we have plans in place to honor our graduates and congratulate them properly for their persistence and hard work meeting this major life milestone. We hope that the guidance doesn’t change later this summer, but if it does, we will ensure that we continue to work with the health department, principals, students, and parents to provide the best celebration that we can under the circumstances.
Information about Student Transfers, Summer QUEST, Grab-n-Go Change, & Driver’s Ed can be found in today's release.
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Student Transfers are ONLINE for the 2020-2021 School Year
You read that correctly! This year, Catawba County Schools will be accepting student transfer applications online!
Students entering K-12 for the 2020-21 school year who wish to transfer to another Catawba County School or from a school outside of the Catawba County Schools district into a Catawba County School need to complete this online application beginning June 1st, 2020 at 8:00 AM. Transfers will be accepted through an application process that is strictly first-come, first-served, based on availability at each school. To be eligible, families must complete the online application form that is automatically time-stamped.
Please note: Students who are currently on a transfer and are in a transition year (rising 7th or rising 9th grader), you must re-apply for a transfer to your next school. For example, if a student is on a transfer to Tuttle and is ending 6th grade and wants to go to Maiden Middle instead of his assigned middle school, he has to apply again for a transfer.
If you are interested, please click here for all of the details including the link to the application, timeline, tuition information, required documents, and contact information if you have questions.
Summer Quest 2020
We are hoping to begin Summer QUEST on June 1 if the state allows. We are still waiting for additional guidance to let us know our timeline and restrictions. In the meantime, if you are interested in Summer QUEST, please be sure to complete this interest form before Friday, May 15 at 3:00 PM.
Based on the interest form and the current COVID-19 recommendations, we will announce the available dates on both of our websites by Monday, May 25 and via social media.
Please visit our website for more information about the Summer Quest 2020 program.
Grab-n-Go Meal Bus Stop Change
Mt. Ruhama Baptist Church will be replaced with Balls Creek Optimist Park beginning Monday, May 4, 2020. The time will remain 11:15 AM - 11:45 AM. Please visit our Grab-n-Go website for the most up-to-date information about our Grab-n-Go Meal Program.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to hold Driver's Ed this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Next year, the fee will go up to $40. However, if you already paid and want to roll your $20 into next year, we will honor that price. If you would rather receive a refund, feel free to send an email request to complete this process. Please include student name, school, parent name, address, and phone number in an email to email@example.com to request your refund. Upon verification of payment, a check for $20 will be issued and placed in the mail in 10-14 days.
The school year ends early on Friday, May 22! Read important details about 4th quarter and final grades.
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Good evening, Catawba County Schools families,
As you know, last week, Governor Cooper closed schools for in-person learning for the remainder of this school year. He also said that our next school year is going to look different. We don’t know what that means yet, but we do know that next year is going to be challenging and we need to be well prepared.
We decided to end the school year a week early for students on Friday, May 22, 2020. That gives our teachers another week of workdays to begin planning for our next school year and to work on their professional development. It is also one less week our students (and parents!) have to work on At-Home Learning, which will likely be welcomed news by both students and parents. However, because we know that next year is going to be challenging on multiple levels, we need our students to continue to be engaged for the last three weeks of school to have a strong foundation for next year’s challenges.
Based on the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) guidance, we are not giving fourth-quarter grades. Final grades will be calculated in different ways depending on the student’s grade level so please be sure to keep reading.
IMPORTANT: All of your hard work during the At-Home Learning (AHL) period still counts! Students have the opportunity to improve their 3rd quarter grades with the work they have done during the AHL period. Teachers will average the AHL grades into students’ 3rd quarter grades. If the AHL work improves their student’s grade, their 3rd quarter grade will be changed to reflect the higher grade. However, if the AHL work does not improve the grade, then the student’s 3rd quarter grade will remain.
For example, Sally has an 89 (B) in math at the end of the 3rd quarter. Her teacher averages all of her hard work during the AHL period and she brings her grade up to a 92 (A). Sally’s teacher will change her 3rd quarter grade to a 92 (A).
Another example: Mary has a 92 (A) in math at the end of the 3rd quarter. Her teacher averages her AHL learning work into her 3rd quarter grade and now it is an 89 (B). Mary’s teacher will keep her grade as a 92 (A) for the 3rd quarter so Mary is not penalized for the AHL and COVID-19 challenges.
Different grade levels have specific details about how final grades will be handled. Please click on the links below and read our letters to understand how your child(ren)’s grades will be affected.
We know that there is a lot of information to digest from this message. Please reach out to your teachers for clarification about your child’s specific situation. Thank you for all of your support during this very unusual time. We know all of you have your own challenges in dealing with COVID-19, in addition to also having the responsibility to help educate your children during this time. Please know that we appreciate you! And we miss you!
Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum & Instruction
Schools are closed for in-person learning through the end of the year but At-Home Learning will continue.
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Good afternoon, Catawba County Schools families,
Today, Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina schools will remain closed for in-person learning through the end of the school year. While this is not a surprise to many, we are disappointed that we will not get to see our students back in our classrooms again this school year. We will continue At-Home Learning through the remainder of the year. We are so proud of our teachers and students for switching to remote learning almost overnight and doing very well with it!
4th Quarter/Final Grades
Next week, we will have more information about 4th quarter grades based on the guidance that the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) provides.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will not be able to hold traditional graduations for our seniors. However, we are exploring very creative ways to still hold a special ceremony to honor their hard work and the transition to the next stage of their lives. Our high schools will be in touch soon.
We know that many (if not all!) of our students still have their belongings in the school buildings. Your principals will let you know how to safely get them from school. Stay tuned!
Our free Grab-n-Go Meal program will continue through the end of the school year. Please click here for an up-to-date list of all our locations.
Prom, Summer Quest, and other Events
As we get more guidance from the state, we will provide more information about rescheduling or holding events in our schools after the restrictions are lifted.
Thank you, once again, for your patience and flexibility. We recognize that a lot of this message says “stay tuned for more information.” Please know that we are working as fast and as carefully as we can with the new guidance provided by the state. It goes without saying that this is such an unusual time without a precedent to reference.
I want to leave you with one last thing: Students, we miss you! We appreciate you! And we encourage you to finish this year as strong as you can under your circumstances! Families: Thank you for all your hard work supporting your children. And thank you for your kindness and patience as we work together through this global crisis.
60,000 Meals Distributed + Food Assistance through Spring Break
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Spring Break Food Assistance, 3rd Quarter Grades on Powerschool, and Important Instructional Updates
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