Superintendent Weekly Update

from the desk of ..... Kathy Amos

January 8, 2021

We enter 2021 with great hope and anticipation of brighter days ahead. The school board members are working on setting the direction and future vision/goals for YCS, the county leadership team is preparing for the end of the school year and summer programs, and hopefully you and the students are enjoying a good ole fashion snow day! Snuggle in and read a good book by the fire. The snow is gorgeous as it sticks to every tree limb and branch!

The health team has been asked many questions about quarantines. Why are we not following the new guidelines? The new guidelines allow you to choose a 7 to 10 day quarantine rule instead of continuing with the 14 day quarantine. After much discussion with the YCHD, we decided to stick with the 14 day quarantine rules and here are some of the reasons behind that decision:

  • We have several documented cases where students and employees have not tested positive or shown symptoms until their 11, 12, or 13 days into their 14 day quarantine

  • The number of active cases continues to be on the rise for our region after the family holiday gatherings

  • Yancey County is in the red on the statewide map for active cases

  • Despite the increase in the community, we want to ensure that our schools continue to be as safe as possible for our students, faculty and staff

  • We are all working extremely hard to keep our schools open for our students at all levels

The reasons listed above is why the YCHD is in support of a 14 day quarantine for YCS. In the spring, if we see a reduction in the number of active cases and people have been vaccinated in our community, then we will consider the new 7 day quarantine guidelines for YCS.

We are trying our best to mitigate the spread of the virus in our schools and classrooms. We are continuing to implement the following strategies to help us stay in school: stay at home if you are not feeling well, if you exhibit symptoms please consider being tested, social distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, wipe and clean all surface areas and please consult your physician about taking the vaccine when it is available in our area.

This is what we know about the vaccine in YC at this point. We have doses of the Moderna vaccine. You can take the first dose and then the second dose 28 days later. You must be 18 years of age or older. There is a minimal chance of a reaction to the vaccine. Millions of people have been vaccinated across the nation against COVID and there are some cases of allergic reactions. If you are allergic to medications, food or insects you should consult with your doctor as you consider the vaccine.

The following article was shared with me and I think it is worth reading and discussing as you consider this important decision.

This statement stands out to me:

"The risk of poor outcomes from COVID is still more than a risk from the vaccine, and fortunately we know how to treat anaphylaxis (an allergic reaction)," Messonnier said.

Big picture

Growing up in Hendersonville in the 1970’s and 80’s we had some awesome snow days. As a kid, it would thrill us to hear Kermit Edney on WHKP AM radio say, “Henderson County Schools are closed!” We would sleep a little later and then get up to put the layers on. You know the days before Diamond Brand and Patagonia….the beige cotton thermals that we all bought at Sky City or Roses, white tube socks with bread bags on our feet stuffed in some boots, tee shirt, turtle neck, sweatshirt, tobogan and out the door we would go, barely able to move. The block of paraffin wax was in my pocket and my little Radio Flyer Red Wooden Rail Sled in hand.

We would come back in and take all the cold, wet layers off and spread them out around the Buck Stove to dry. Our fingers and toes would be so cold they would sting and prickle as they began to unthaw from the verge of frostbite. Lunch consisted of a tomato or chicken and stars Campbell's soup with a peanut butter sandwich or grilled cheese, a glass of milk and a homemade chocolate chip cookie while actually TALKING about what we just did in detail and what we still needed to do before dark. We would re-layer and back out we would go for the afternoon adventures.

So in honor of those fabulous snow days….. we are hoping that everyone has rolled in the extra firewood, dragging out those sleds, grabbing a good book, getting the Swiss Miss and marshmallows ready….’cause Yancey County Schools are CLOSED today for students, faculty and staff for a good ol’ fashion snow day!

We hope you are OUTSIDE and making snowmen/snow creatures, flying down the hillsides, following some animal tracks, having snowball fights, making snow angels and making some FUN memories y’all!

Stay safe and enjoy:)

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

YCS W2's Release Dates

Finance Office staff members are working hard to complete W2’s that will be distributed to each individual at his/her home school on Wednesday, January 20th and Thursday, January 21st.

Additional or lost W2’s may be viewed or printed from the Employee Portal of the YCS website.

First Financial Deductions

January begins deductions for newly elected benefits or continued cafeteria benefits through First Financial Administrators. Please check your deductions carefully and report any discrepancies to Daphne Buchanan, Payroll Coordinator.
Big picture

Earn CEUs via the Online Outdoor Wonders and Learning (OWL) Workshop hosted by Mayland Community College

Click the pic to access the Mayland Community College online catalog to find the Outdoor Wonders and Learning (OWL) Workshop on page 35.

This workshop is an Environmental Education-based curriculum guide written and designed to match North Carolina Essential Standards for elementary grades. It focuses on Science, but also meets Math, Social Studies, and English-Language Arts.

This class is presented by The North Carolina Arboretum.

Big picture

YCS Staff Vaccine Opportunity

YCS has been contacted along with other businesses and agencies, by Diane Creek, Health Director of YC Health Department and asked to provide a list of employees and their email addresses. This information will then be uploaded into the state database system. The state system will auto generate an email to each employee, inviting you to create an account and submit a questionnaire if you are interested in receiving the vaccine. Once your questionnaire is submitted to the state, you will receive an email informing you what priority group you are placed in based on the answers you provided. The priority group you are placed in is based on your responses and is totally the state's decision. Once you receive your priority group, you can call the YC Health Department and make an appointment to receive the vaccine. If you don't want the vaccine, you do not submit a form or call for an appointment. If you are undecided or change your mind, you can always get vaccinated at a later date.

Below are several resources and links to educate you about the vaccine and this process. This is a personal and individual decision. This is not a requirement or directive. However, YCS encourages our employees to make informed and educated decisions.

As always, the health and safety of our students and staff are top priority and drive our day to day decisions. Please be safe and continue to practice the three W's.

  • On Jan. 7, 2021, North Carolina reported its highest one-day number of COVID-19 cases with 10,398 new cases reported. The percent of tests that are positive and hospitalizations have also been steadily increasing.
  • Amid rising COVID-19 metrics, Governor Cooper extended North Carolina's Modified Stay At Home Order that requires people to be at home from 10 pm – 5 am to last through at least Jan. 29.
  • NCDHHS issued a Secretarial Directive telling North Carolinians to stay home except for essential activities and avoid gathering, especially indoors, with people who do not live with them.
  • NCDHHS is reporting 84 counties are red in the latest COVID-19 County Alert System, meaning most of the state has critical levels of viral spread.
  • Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order, extending North Carolina’s evictions moratorium through Jan. 31, 2021, helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • NCDHHS announced a new partnership with North Carolina Central University to enhance COVID-19 outreach efforts among underserved communities.
  • NCDHHS recently added data on the number of people who have been vaccinated statewide and by each county to the NC COVID-19 Dashboard.
Big picture

NCDHHS recently updated its COVID-19 vaccination plan to align with new federal recommendations.

The changes simplify the vaccine process and continue the state’s commitment to first protect health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19, people who are at the highest risk of being hospitalized or dying, and those at high risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Because COVID-19 vaccine supplies are currently limited, states must make vaccines available in phases. Vaccines are now available to people 75 and older. Because vaccine supplies are still limited, those 75 and older may have to wait, but they have one of the first spots to take their shot.

For more information about how to find your spot to take your shot, go to the DHHS website. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in NC, go to the Your Spot, Your Shot website.

Big picture

Download the SlowCOVID App to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Our COVID-19 metrics are at record highs and we need your help to slow the spread. In addition to practicing the 3 Ws: Wearing a mask, waiting 6 ft part, and washing your hands often, you can download SlowCOVIDNC.

More than 620,000 people have already downloaded SlowCOVIDNC, the official exposure notification app of North Carolina. SlowCOVIDNC alerts users when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The more people who download and use the app, the more we can slow the spread of the virus.

The app is completely anonymous and does not collect, store or share personal information or location data. Download for free on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Learn more about the SlowCOVIDNC app in these frequently asked questions, and share resources and materials about the app.