Superintendent Weekly Update

from the desk of ..... Kathy Amos

February 26, 2021

V A C C I N E S

Have you ever been in line at the grocery store and you change lines because there is only one person in front of you in the new line?


Then what happens….the one person in front of you has two price checks. You stand watching the line you left, zoom three people right on through while you continue to wait. That is the best way I know to describe the frustration of the vaccine process. We have come to the realization that so much of this is out of our control - vaccine production and distribution, delivery delays due to the weather, and decisions being made at NCDHHS.


Here is a timeline of the work behind the scenes for vaccines:

  • In January, we started talking with the health team about vaccines for our employees.

  • We have great partnerships with YCHD and MCHP so we discussed all of our options.

  • NCDHHS sent emails to employees so they could be ranked based on their health needs and placed in Phases.

  • School employees were considered essential workers and placed in Phase 2 by NCDHHS.

  • We were proactive and set dates in February to vaccinate our employees.

  • Some of our employees were vaccinated based on the Phase 2 guidelines at YCHD.

  • NCDHHS made a change and moved teachers to Phase 3.

  • We had to keep moving our vaccine dates back due to Phase 3 changes/guidance.

  • Phase 3 was opened on Wednesday, February 24.

  • The shipment of doses to our area had been delayed due to weather conditions across our nation and the production of the vaccines.

  • We have a waiting list of people in YC who are wanting to be vaccinated.

  • With all of that being said it leads us up to this point in time…


I have spoken to Diane Creek, Toe River Health Director, several times this week. Last night I received word from her that the YCHD will be receiving a large shipment of doses that will cover their waiting list for Phases I and 2 and will cover our employees in Phase 3. That is excellent news!!!

The YCS Vaccination Clinic date is set for Friday, March 5 starting at 1:00 pm at the YCHD

Carla McMahan will email you the forms to fill out. Please scan the forms to Diane Creeks’ email address (diane.creek@toeriverhealth.org). If you need help with the forms, please work with the office staff and principals at your schools for assistance.


The YCHD will enter your information into their system and call you to set up your appointment time for next Friday. If you do not receive a call by next Wednesday afternoon, after you send in your forms, please email Diane to make sure you have a time scheduled for next Friday.


Please work with your principals about the time you need to leave campus, during your planning period, after school, after your bus route, or between shifts. This clinic is for any employee who will receive your 1st dose of the vaccine. If you are waiting for your 2nd shot, please continue with your health care provider for your 2nd shot.


The 2nd shot will be given to employees on a Friday afternoon so employees have time to recover over the weekend in case there are any side effects. I will ask employees to work with their principals in case you have any issues with the 2nd shot. The vast majority of people have no side effects or they feel better within 48 hours.


We will continue to work with the health department over the next several weeks to provide vaccination clinics for our employees each month. I hope you will consider being vaccinated. We do love and appreciate our employees and this is another layer of protection as we continue to fight this virus as a work family and a community.

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MHHS Cougar Varsity Men vs. Hendersonville 7:00 p.m. tomorrow - Hendersonville Middle - See links below to listen or watch!

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CONGRATULATIONS!




Congratulations to Angela Melton for being named an Extraordinarily Exceptional Educator by the State Board of Education and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction!


Angela is an EC Teacher at Micaville and South Toe Elementary Schools!

National School Social Work Week

Social Work Month in March is a time to celebrate the great profession of social work. The theme for Social Work Month 2021 is Social Workers Are Essential.


National School Social Work Week is always the first full week of March (March 7-13 2021).

“Beacon of Hope: School Social Workers – Lighting the Way” is the theme for School Social Work Week 2021. In the role, School Social Workers are able to light the way, emphasizing the whole child, collaborating with other professionals, linking students and families with needed services, and advocating for the profession.

School Social Work Week provides an excellent opportunity to let others know of the great work that you are doing! During this week, plan to take the opportunity to “toot your own horn” and let others know how you are impacting the lives of students as you address barriers to learning and increase successful educational and academic outcomes.


A state level "tooting of horns" will be developed and promoted during this week.

School Nutrition and the Social and Emotional Climate and Learning

School leaders can improve the overall school environment by strengthening the connection between school nutrition, the social and emotional climate, and social and emotional learning.

The social and emotional climate (SEC) in school includes experiences students have with peers and adults that can affect their emotional well-being, development, and behavior.School leaders can create a positive SEC to help make teaching and learning effective. This approach will also help students improve their social and emotional learning (SEL), which includes:

  • Managing emotions.
  • Setting and achieving positive goals.
  • Feeling and showing empathy for others.
  • Establishing and maintaining positive relationships.
  • Making responsible decisions.

Learn more at: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/nutrition/school_nutrition_sec.htm

RESTRICTIONS EASED AT HIGH SCHOOL SPORTING EVENTS AS SENATE REPUBLICANS PURSUE LEGISLATIVE MANDATE

Katherine Joyce | NCASA Executive Director


Governor Roy Cooper on Wednesday announced he will ease restrictions on attendance at high school and college sporting events while lifting the state’s modified stay-home order and adjusting the limits on bar operations and the current alcohol sales curfew. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans pushed forward Senate Bill 116 that would increase the attendance capacity at outdoor sporting events for public and nonpublic high schools even if the Governor orders lower limits for spectators the remainder of this school year.

Governor Cooper’s new Executive Order 195, detailed in this press release, will replace Executive Order 189 that expires Sunday. His new order, that takes effect at 5 p.m. Friday 2/26, includes the following limits for school, college and other sporting events:

  • Up to 30% of the venue capacity for outdoor facilities,
  • The lesser of 250 spectators or 30% of the venue capacity for most indoor facilities, and
  • Up to 15% capacity for larger indoor venues seating more than 5,000.

His expiring modified stay-at-home order had implemented a statewide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., prohibited on-site alcohol sales from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. and limited capacity for many gatherings and businesses. Guests in spectator stands and viewing areas at school and other sporting facilities, stadiums, or sporting complexes have been limited to the lesser of 100 people or 30% of the facility's stated outdoor occupancy. For spaces without a stated outdoor occupancy, no more than seven guests have been permitted for every 1,000 square feet of the outdoor area's square footage.

Ahead of the Governor’s announcement, SB 116 was introduced to require public and nonpublic high schools to set capacity limits for spectators at outdoor sporting events to no more than 40% of the facility's approved occupancy capacity under the fire code. For facilities without occupancy capacities under the fire code, no more than seven persons for every 1,000 square feet would be allowed under the bill. However, individual schools, at the discretion of their governing bodies, could choose to implement stricter access to outdoor sporting events. Schools would still be required to comply with nonconflicting portions of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services' (NCDHHS) StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit from Feb. 2, 2021 and Interim Guidance for Administrators and Participants of Youth and Amateur Sports Programs. For the purposes of SB 116, "spectators" would not include athletes, employees of a public or nonpublic high school, entertainers, or staff providing support for the sporting event.


The bill – sponsored by Sens. Todd Johnson (R-Union), Danny Britt (R-Robeson) and Vickie Sawyer (R-Iredell) – responds to outreach from parents who want to watch their children play sports. More than 45,000 signatures collected on a petition urges increasing the spectator capacity at outdoor athletic events held by schools. SB 116 was approved by the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee on Wednesday after being amended to clarify that the proposed increase in spectators would apply to all outdoor sports, including baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer and others in which families often bring their own lawn chairs when watching the event.


Johnson, the bill’s leading sponsor, said his goal was to spur action by the Governor. “We would be just as satisfied to see Governor Cooper change this on his own,” Johnson said at a press conference before the bill’s hearing by the Education Committee. “In fact, I prefer that.”


But Johnson said in a Wednesday evening email to WRAL News that the governor's latest 30 percent capacity for outdoor stadiums doesn’t go far enough. "It doesn’t make much sense to me to allow 50% capacity inside restaurants, where it’s physically impossible to always wear a mask, and allow only 30% capacity at wide open outdoor sports venues. Unless I hear a compelling reason for that difference, I plan to move forward with my bill," he wrote.


In presenting the bill in the Education Committee, Johnson said many sports complexes can seat several thousand people but now have “an unreasonable 100-person limit” that is keeping families from missing key moments in the lives of their student athletes. “To quote James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams: If you pass this bill, ‘the people will come,’” Johnson said.


The bill cleared the Senate Rules Committee earlier today, along with Senate Bill 115 that would open outdoor sports events to 50% capacity in only a few counties. That bill, for which Johnson is also the lead sponsor, would apply only to Alamance, Anson, Haywood, Iredell, Moore, Onslow, Randolph, Richmond, Rockingham, Scotland, Stokes, Surry, Union, and Yadkin. As a local bill affecting fewer than 15 counties, that legislation does not require action by the Governor and could not be vetoed.


Both bills next move to the Senate floor, where they could face debates and votes early next week.


Katherine Joyce
kjoyce@ncasa.net

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Stop the Bleed Kit Supplies Delivered to Yancey County Schools

Thanks to Mission Health's Tonia Hale and Colby Boston for delivering Stop the Bleed Kit Supplies! These kits will be assembled and distributed to schools in the new few weeks!


Pictured L-R: Colby Boston & Tonia Hale, Missions Health; YCS Lead Nurse Shea Laws, YCS Superintendent Kathy Amos; Assistant Superintendent Heather Cox

HOUSE PASSES SUMMER LEARNING BILL, SENATE ACTION LIKELY NEXT WEEK

Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs & Policy Manager


Members of the NC House unanimously voted 120-0 on Wednesday to approve a bill requiring all school districts to offer in-person learning opportunities this summer. House Bill 82: Summer Learning Choice for NC Families was amended several times earlier in the week in both the House K-12 Education Committee and House Pensions Committee to incorporate some changes recommended by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) and other groups before being amended a final time on the House floor. H82 has been sent to the Senate for further action, likely next week. Major bill provisions and recent changes are outlined below:


  • Funding — While no additional funds were provided for LEAs to implement the summer program, the bill was amended in the House K-12 Education Committee to include language stating the General Assembly’s “intent” to direct the State Board of Education to provide LEAs with additional funding for the program from remaining federal ESSER II funds allocated to the NC Department of Public Instruction. It is not yet clear how this new mandate will impact SBE/NCDPI proposed budgetary requests. Funds allocated for summer reading camps and at-risk students could also still be utilized for the program.
  • Staffing — Despite ongoing concerns shared by NCASA and other groups, the employment provisions of the bill remain largely unchanged. LEAs shall employ teachers and other school personnel as “temporary employees” on a contract basis for the six-week period of the program. They would not be considered employees and would not be deemed as earning “compensation,” and therefore, would not earn retirement credit or accrue leave time; however, the bill was amended during the House Pensions Committee to allow individuals who “retired on or after Dec. 1, 2020,” but “on or before March 1, 2021,” to be employed in the summer program without having to meet the usual six-month employment separation requirement. Such employees would have to meet a one-month employment separation requirement instead.
  • Program Planning Deadline — LEAs would still have to submit plans for these summer programs no later than 30 days prior to the final instructional day of the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Mandatory Only for LEAs — The bill still applies only to LEAs and not other public school units that include charter, lab, and regional schools. Charter schools are encouraged, but not required to hold the summer learning programs. NCASA proposed language which would have allowed LEAs to charge a tuition fee for non-LEA students who participate in the summer program, but this language was first added and then dropped from the final House version of the bill.
  • Instructional Day Requirements — The bill was amended in the House K-12 Education Committee to change the mandated schedule, which had been five hours per day and five days per week for six weeks, to “at least 150 hours or 30 days over the course of the program” and not starting before the 2020-21 school year ends. Curriculum requirements would still vary for K-3 students, grade 4-8 students, and high school students. Separate amendments also changed instructional requirements to now include time for “in-person social-emotional earning supports for all students in the program” and to allow for small-group and individual instruction.
  • Transportation & Meal Service—The bill was amended to clarify that LEAs would provide transportation under Plan A requirements established in the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit issued on February 2, 2021. A separate amendment changed the requirement that LEAs provide “lunch” to a “meal.”
  • Grade Promotion — Kindergarten students who participate in the program shall be exempt from retention for the 2021-2022 school year; for all other at-risk students, school principals would reassess the student’s promotion eligibility upon program completion.
  • K-3 Class Size Waiver — Class size limitations for K-3 would not apply to the summer program.
  • Competency-Based Assessments Reporting — The bill was amended to require LEAs to report to NCDPI by Sept. 1, 2021 on the following: results of competency-based assessments given to students in grades K-8 at the beginning and conclusion of the program; the number of students who progressed to the next grade level or were retained after participating the program; and the number of students who received credit recovery in high school.
  • Innovative Benchmark Assessments – The bill would require the State Board of Education to provide for and require LEAs to implement innovative benchmark assessments in certain grades and core subject areas to allow teachers to more frequently measure student learning and address student learning loss throughout the school. State Superintendent Catherine Truitt has signaled her intent for NCDPI to contract with a student assessment tool called “gooru” to satisfy this section of the bill, which would allow LEAs to use that tool or others of their choice.


Elizabeth Yelverton
eyelverton@ncasa.net


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Tour the Museum of History, Virtually, from Anywhere!

February 24, 2021 (RALEIGH, N.C.) — The North Carolina Museum of History is proud to announce it has completed the initial production of 360˚ virtual tours of its largest exhibit, The Story of North Carolina!

Top Five Takeaways for The Story of North Carolina 360˚ Virtual Tour

  • Users can explore the Museum of History’s largest exhibit, The Story of North Carolina, virtually—from anywhere!
  • Users have two options for touring the 3-D space: an overall walk-through of the entire exhibit or an in-depth exploration of shorter segments, one gallery at a time, in the Student Tour version.
  • The Student Tour’s shorter segments provide enriched content such as additional information, images of artifacts in 360˚, photographs, and videos.
  • Users can “walk” inside various exhibit structures, even some that were previously roped off to in-person tours; these include the Martin County cabin that housed seven enslaved people in 1860.
  • Users should watch for members of our staff throughout the virtual tours! They are waiting to introduce new sections.

To make the Museum of History’s main chronological history exhibit, The Story of North Carolina, accessible to online audiences across the state, and around the world, the museum has created two 360˚ virtual-reality tours of the exhibition: one that provides an overall walk-through of the entire exhibit and is geared to casual adult visitors and a Student Tour that consists of 13 shorter but more detailed gallery tours, to provide educators, students, and lifelong learners readily available, easy-to-use digital social studies resources on a focused theme or time period.

To accomplish those goals, the Student Tours feature a range of additional content—background information, views of artifacts in 360˚, photographs, and videos that work together to provide new insights into 14,000 years of our state’s history—accessed through information dots. These tours also include introductory overviews from museum staff, to introduce important themes covered.

Ready to delve virtually into The Story of North Carolina? Be sure to follow us on social media for updates as the museum expands its virtual offerings. You can also stay up to date on all events and exhibits at the museum website: ncmuseumofhistory.org.

Even when the museum reopens at full capacity, such tours will enable schools to better prepare for field trips and will open up the exhibition to audiences outside the building who cannot travel to Raleigh for in-person viewing.

The North Carolina Museum of History Foundation received funding for these virtual tours in an NC CARES: Humanities Relief Grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, nchumanities.org; funding for NC CARES was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan.