No Place Like Jones

Welcome to the 2021-2022 School Year!

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Principal Corner

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Dear Ira B. Jones Families,

The 2021-2022 school year is here! On behalf of the Ira B. Jones staff, I extend a warm welcome to our new students and families and a warm welcome back to our students and families returning to our school. We are excited to be on this journey with you. We are only a few days away from the first day of school and welcoming students back into the building. We are so excited to reunite with our school community!


COVID-19 has brought many changes to our communities, affecting how we live, work, and interact. But throughout these changes, one thing has stayed constant: Our determination to serve our students, families, and the Ira B. Jones community.


I plan to continue to have ongoing and transparent communication with you. I look forward to continuing our partnership with you to ensure our children are successful this year. We recognize that to be successful, our children need support from both the home and school. We know a strong partnership with you will make a significant difference in the success of our students. As partners, we share the responsibility for all of our students' success and want you to know that we will do our very best to carry out our responsibilities.


I encourage you to use our school’s website, our Facebook page, the district’s Back to School Updates Website, follow us on Twitter @Principal_IBJ, as sources of information.


It's an honor and privilege to serve as your principal, and as we prepare to begin another fantastic year's journey of growth and learning, I would like to thank all of you for your ongoing support and encouragement. As a school leader and a parent, I understand the necessity of healthy communication between families and the school. I welcome your questions, celebrations, or concerns at any time. You can reach me by calling the school (828-350-6700) or via email (ruafika.cobb@acsgmail.net).


In partnership,


Ruafika Cobb

Principal

Ira B. Jones Elementary School

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Upcoming Important Dates

August 23: 1st Day of School 8:00 am - 2:30 pm

August 25: Kindergarten Staggered Start

August 26: Kindergarten Staggered Start

August 27: All Kindergarten Attend School

September 6: Holiday

October 13: Student Picture Day!

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Arrival/Dismissal Procedures

Dear Ira B. Jones Families,

We always strive to create a safe and welcoming environment for our students and their families, and we need your support to ensure that arrival and dismissal go smoothly. As always, be prepared to be flexible as we may have to make adjustments during the year due to changes in staffing or COVID-19 protocols. There are a few areas in which we really need your support:

  • Our academic day starts at 8:00 AM. For a student to be ready to begin the day, they need to be in the building no later than 7:55 AM so that they can be in their seats ready for the start of school. Please know that many families select to drop their students off in the morning, which means that car dropoff can become congested. Please help us by making sure that you are arriving well before the start of school.
  • The staff who are assigned to carline duty have other assignments in the building at 8:00 AM. If you arrive after they have gone inside, please park, walk your student to the door, and wait until a staff person lets them in. The student will need to come to the office lobby to get a tardy slip.

  • Students will only be released to adults listed in PowerSchool as a contact who can pick up students. If we are not familiar with the adult, we will ask for ID to ensure they are approved for pickup. If you have relatives or family friends who may be picking up your student in an emergency, list them as a contact.

  • Caregivers should communicate with their student’s classroom teacher about changes to dismissal plans for the day. At this time, we are not using Dismissal Manager. If this changes, we will let you know.

  • We will not write bus passes for individuals to ride a bus they are not already assigned. If a child is going on a play date with a student who rides a different bus, other arrangements will have to be made.

  • Families should not drive to the area around the school, park, and then walk onto campus. Please honor the car rider dropoff process; we have staff dedicated to that area to ensure the safety of all involved.

  • If you live close to the school and are interested in having the option for your student to be a walker, please communicate with Mrs. Cobb or me so that we can make a plan for your student.

  • Please pull forward to a designated parking space in front of the school during pick-up in the afternoons if you need to adjust car seat straps and seat belts. You're welcome to get out of your car in one of the parking spaces to make those adjustments. Have you students start practicing now to buckle their own seat belts!


Please reach out to me if you have questions about the procedures or bus transportation. We cannot wait to see students in person next week!


Sincerely,

Jo Landreth

Assistant Principal

jo.landreth@acsgmail.net

828 350-6702 office phone

828 545 2728 work cell phone


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Arrival Procedures

K Car Riders: Families with kindergarten students will be able to drop them off in the kindergarten parking lot starting at 7:15 AM. Older siblings will also exit the car and enter the building at the kindergarten/auditorium entrance. Drivers will need to approach the school on Kimberly Avenue coming from Beaverdam to avoid crossing the traffic on Kimberly to enter the parking lot. When entering the parking lot, drivers will turn right and follow the roadway in a counterclockwise direction. A staff member will meet each car to welcome the student(s) to school. For the first few weeks, someone will walk students to their classrooms. Please do not let a student out until a staff member has met the car.


1-5 Car Riders: Non-kindergarten families will be able to drop their students off in the loop in front of the office starting at 7:15 AM. Drivers will need to approach the school on Kimberly Avenue coming from Beaverdam to avoid crossing the traffic on Kimberly to enter the loop. Drivers will pull up to the farthest pole in front of the school. Only release students from cars when the car is directly in front of the building in one of the numbered slots unless a staff member indicates otherwise. Once all students in the front area have made it safely to the sidewalk, that group of cars will be released. Drivers must turn right out of the parking lot. To keep everyone safe, drivers should refrain from using cell phones while they are in the loop.


Bus Riders: Bus riders will arrive on campus and enter the school via the two-story building. During the first weeks, we will support all students with getting to their classrooms as needed.


Walkers: Students who live nearby and have been approved to walk will enter the building through the front doors between the office and the primary building. This is a change from last year when they entered the building via the two-story building. There will be a staff member there who can assist them with getting to their new classrooms.


Dismissal Procedures

K-5 Car Riders: During the first week of school, families will be given placards to display in the car’s front window during pickup. If your family needs more than two placards, please let us know. All car riders will be picked up in the main loop in the afternoon. A staff member will approach cars to determine which students are needed in the carline. This will be communicated to teachers in the classrooms, and the students will come outside to the pickup area. Follow the directions of the adults staffing carline as to when it is safe to move forward or leave. Drivers must turn right out of the parking lot. In order to keep everyone safe, drivers should refrain from using cell phones while they are in the loop.


Bus Riders: First-load bus riders will leave their classrooms at 2:25 to head to the bus area. Second-load bus riders will stay in their classrooms until their buses are about to arrive. Staff members will assist students in getting on the correct buses.


Alternative Transportation: Students taking transportation provided by an after-school program such as the YMCA Beaverdam, Sun-Tsu, or Asheville Community Movement will exit the building near the cafeteria. When the program arrives for pickup, the staff member on duty will communicate with the classrooms to let them know to send the students.


Walkers: Students who live nearby who have been approved to be walkers will have a specialized exit based on their home location. This will be discussed when you contact Mrs. Cobb or Mrs. Landreth. For students who are approved to be walkers but will be met by their parents, the parent will go to the alternative transportation staff member at the cafeteria entrance, and the staff member will communicate with the classroom for the student to be released.

COVID Updates

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen many quick changes around our country (and the world!) due to the Delta variant. We plan to offer in-person learning and to do our best to keep students and staff safe and healthy. Please know that if our plans change, I will do my best to share timely information with you.

You can always read about North Carolina’s COVID safety expectations in the NC Strong Schools Toolkit (updated August 18th). As a district, we follow updates for this document closely to help guide our decisions about COVID safety.


In summary, as of today, here are a few things to note:

  • Students and staff will wear masks indoors. Please have open conversations with your child about mask-wearing. This is essential to make in-person learning work, and every child, K-5, must understand that it is required. We will remind students if they forget (it happens!) or wear their masks incorrectly. Please talk to your child about how reminders are meant to be helpful, and we want to keep staff and students safe at IBJ.

  • We will be eating lunch outside as much as possible, and when not outside, we will eat lunch in classrooms.

  • The definition of “close contact” has changed in the new toolkit.

  • We do not have plans to screen students at arrival (temp checks and questions).

  • Students will go to specialist classes (like a typical school year).

  • We will do our best to keep students 6 feet apart when we can, but it will be 3 feet apart in class.

  • Right now, we plan to have classes play together at recess. Last year we separated each class to minimize potential exposures and exclusions. Masks are not required outside, but we do encourage them. If there is an exposure, and the two students are wearing a mask, then the close contact would not have to be quarantined. I’m sharing this so that we can all be transparent about the reality of future quarantines. You can read more about that in the toolkit as well (pages listed below).

  • Please take a moment to review these specific pages in the toolkit linked above:

    • Page 9 - Cloth face coverings

    • Page 14 - Handling Presumptive, Positive, Confirmed COVID cases - This is crucial for getting familiar with as it explains what we do at the school.

    • Page 17 - Scenarios and criteria for returning to school if excluded due to COVID

    • Pages 15 & 16 - When quarantining is necessary (this is an important one). There are changes from last year regarding when a student will be excluded/quarantined.

  • Here are ACS School Board presentations (prepared by April Dockery) regarding COVID safety protocols.


Covid Symptoms:

  • Fever (temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)

  • Sore throat

  • Cough (for people with chronic cough due to allergies or asthma, a change in their cough from baseline)

  • Difficulty breathing (for people with asthma, a change from their baseline breathing)

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Diarrhea or vomiting

  • New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • Congestion or runny nose


Please keep your child home if they have any of these symptoms. Our school nurse, Julie Burger, can also help you with questions about these symptoms.

julie.burger@acsgmail.net or 828.545.1473


Asheville City Schools will keep all their Back to School updates on this website: https://www.ashevillecityschools.net/Domain/2507.

Annual Student PowerSchool Update

If you have questions about the Annual Student Information Update, need access to a computer, or need help completing the update, please contact Devin Browning, our new Data Manager, at 828.350.6707 or devin.browning@acsgmail.net. Completing this update will ensure you receive communication via email, newsletters, phone calls, and text messages. We must stay in touch! I want to make sure you stay informed and connected to our school.


Don't forget to include any relatives or family friends who may be picking up your student in an emergency as a contact.

Starting on Monday, August 23, I will only share school updates on the Ira B. Jones Facebook page, our website, and Twitter.

Ira B. Jones Elementary School

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Ruafika A. Cobb, Principal

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