Remote-only instruction will continue at least through Friday, Jan. 22, when district and school administrators will convene to assess the situation and determine if it is prudent to reopen the school.
“We make decisions based on data,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton. “I am in contact with the health department, area health providers, and our partners at WCU and SCC at least weekly. That information is shared with the school board, and we move according to the data in the best interest of our students and staff.”
All individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 or had close contact with someone who tested positive are in quarantine and following guidance from health care professionals.
The district’s eight other schools will continue on their current schedule. However, students who had close contact with individuals at Cullowhee Valley who tested positive have been notified and will quarantine and shift to remote instruction for at least seven days.
Free meals will be available in front of the school from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for anyone 18 or under while classes remain remote-only. No sign-up is necessary.
Despite the surge in positive cases, Jackson County Public Schools continues to maintain a lower rate of infection than the surrounding area. Assistant Superintendent Jacob Buchanan attributes the district’s success to their commitment in following CDC and NCDHHS guidelines.
“I can’t stress the importance of the three W’s enough,” Buchanan said. “We are requiring masks, we encourage regular handwashing and we do our best to maintain social distance. We firmly believe that our students are less likely to contract COVID-19 in our schools than they are in the community at large.”