Beginning Friday, January 15, classes at Cullowhee Valley School will transition to remote-only instruction due to a spike in COVID-19 cases among staff members. Remote-only instruction will continue through Friday, January 22 when district and school administrators will convene to assess the situation and determine if it is prudent to reopen the school.
All individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 or had close contact with someone who tested positive is 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 age 18 or under while classes remain remote-only. No sign-up is necessary.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton does not take the closure of schools lightly.
“We make decisions based on data,” Tipton said. “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.”
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.”