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Superintendent's Updates: Coronavirus COVID-19

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9.10.21 Superintendent's Update

This week has been a better week in terms of COVID 19 cases in our schools. During our weekly data review this morning with health care officials, we are continuing to see a high positivity rate in Madison County with 141 new positive cases countywide. We have added 30 new active positive cases for students compared to 61 positive cases last week. We have 10 staff members who are currently positive. While this is not great news, it is better news and a sign that our safety strategies are working. Please remember that if your child is tested for COVID 19, please do not send them back to school until you have a negative result.

I want to thank our school nurses, and our staff members who have stepped up and are testing students daily and contact tracing to stay ahead of the virus. I attribute our ability to stay open to their dedication to the safety of our students. Due to the number of positive Covid cases we have seen in our schools since opening day, on Friday, September 17 we have scheduled a deep cleaning day in each of our schools. There will be no classes for students on Friday, September 17.  With the safety protocols at work each day in our classrooms and on our buses, schools remain one of the safest places for our students in our community. For the week of September 13 all students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear face coverings indoors at all school facilities when students are scheduled for instruction.

I encourage anyone who is not vaccinated and eligible for the vaccine to get vaccinated by calling the Madison County Health Department or your health care provider. We teach that short-term sacrifices are necessary to achieve long term goals. Our goal is to keep our schools open. Thank you for your patience and understanding when we call for a deep cleaning day, or when bus routes or classroom schedules are impacted by personnel shortages. The way we beat this virus is by working together, staying positive, and listening to healthcare professionals.

 
9.03.21 Superintendent's Update
This week we received school accountability results that show that Madison County Schools is well above the state average in grade level proficiency and graduation rate. Out of 115 school districts in North Carolina, we rank in the top 15 and our high school graduation rate is 91 percent. I want to thank our teachers, principals and our entire staff who make us a top performing North Carolina school district year in and year out.

This week has been a challenging week in terms of COVID 19 cases in our schools. During our weekly data review this morning with health care officials, we are continuing to see a high positivity rate in Madison County, and we have added 61 new active positive cases for students and staff. We have also seen numerous quarantines, which include sports teams and classrooms. While positive case numbers are alarming, as a percentage of our overall enrollment of 2,190 students, they equal 3 percent. It is critical that we keep our students in schools for face to face instruction and social emotional support. You can help us by encouraging your child to wear a mask, by keeping your child home if they are symptomatic and by strictly following the quarantine protocols. The Madison County Child Fatality Task Force recently met and overwhelmingly determined that the number one way to prevent child suicide and address the social emotional needs of our students is for schools to be open. With the safety protocols at work each day in our classrooms and on our buses, schools remain one of the safest places for our students in our community. The mask requirement is helping us to avoid quarantine and safely keep our students in school for face to face instruction. For the week of September 7 all students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear face coverings indoors at all school facilities when students are scheduled for instruction. Our next weekly meeting with health officials is Friday, September 10 when we will review the data and make a decision for the following week.

I encourage anyone who is not vaccinated and eligible for the vaccine to get vaccinated by calling the Madison County Health Department or your health care provider. I want to wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day weekend. There will be no school for students on Monday, September 6.

 
8.27.21 Superintendent's Update
 
I want to thank this outstanding staff for a strong second week of school and for continuing to “push through” this most recent COVID surge in a positive way. We are open for face-to-face instruction so that each of our students can benefit from the LOVE YOU GIVE every day in our classrooms, offices, cafeterias, buses, gyms, and ballfields. We are Making It Happen in Madison County Schools and I can assure you better days are ahead! 

During our weekly data review this morning with health care officials we are continuing to see a high positivity rate in Madison County. We have added 27 new active positive cases for students and staff this week. For the week of Monday, August 30 we project to have 51 students and staff in quarantine. A neighboring district, with a similar number of positive cases now has 232 students in quarantine. The mask requirement, while not ideal, is helping us to avoid quarantine and safely keep our students in school for face-to-face instruction. 90 school districts in North Carolina’s 100 counties now require face covering during instructional hours indoors. With this current data, and the continued uptick in positive student aged cases, for the week of August 30 all students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear face coverings indoors at all school facilities when students are scheduled for instruction. Our next weekly meeting with health officials is Friday, September 3 when we will review the data and make a decision for the following week. Due to the high transmission rates of the Delta Variant, particularly among children, requiring face coverings gives us the greatest chance to keep our students safe and in school. 

I encourage anyone who is not vaccinated and eligible for the vaccine to get vaccinated by calling the Madison County Health Department or your health care provider. Thank you for your continued perseverance, empathy, and vision as we navigate this public health crisis together.

 
8.23.21 Superintendent's Update
 
Face coverings are required indoors at all of our school facilities when our students are scheduled for instruction. Our next weekly meeting with the Madison County Health Director will be Friday, August 27th to review the latest COVID data and make a decision for the following week.  
 
8.20.21  Superintendent's Update
 
I want to congratulate our students, teachers, and staff for a great first week of school. There is nothing that can replace face to face instruction, and our number one goal is keeping our students in school from 8:00-3:00, 5 days per week. The decisions that we make weekly are geared specifically toward that goal. At our weekly meeting this morning with the Board of Education Chair, the Assistant Superintendent and Madison County Health Officials we discussed our most recent and up to date health information for Madison County Schools related to COVID 19. Based on that data, today we have a 19% positivity rate, and we have over 60 youth in Madison County who have tested positive between the ages of 0-18. This represents a 100% increase in cases since my announcement on August 11. We have 36 students who are in quarantine (a neighboring district with a similar number of positive cases has 136 students quarantined). We have 6 staff members who are positive or have symptoms due to direct exposure. With this current data, and with the continued uptick in positive student cases, for the week of August 23 all students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear face coverings indoors at all school facilities when students are scheduled for instruction. Our next weekly meeting with health officials is Friday, August 27 when we will review the data and make a decision for the following week. Due to the high transmission rates of the Delta Variant, particularly among children, requiring face coverings gives us the greatest chance to keep our students safe, and in school while avoiding quarantine.

We will lift the mask requirement as soon as we reach a positivity rate below 5%. I encourage everyone who is not vaccinated and eligible for the vaccine to get vaccinated by calling the Madison County Health Department or your health care provider. Thank you for remaining a Beacon of Hope for our students as we start the school year and as we continue to navigate this public health crisis.
 
 
8.11.21 Superintendent's Update
 
 
8/03/21 Superintendent's Update
 
 
 
7/26/21 Superintendent's Update
 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 Governor Cooper and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services lifted face-covering requirements in North Carolina schools effective July 31, 2021. Following the COVID 19 recommendations for schools, the Board of Education strongly recommends face coverings in the school setting for all unvaccinated students and staff. Based on this guidance, and with input from the Madison County Health Director, the Board of Education unanimously affirms that face coverings will be optional in our schools for the 2021-2022 school year. The Board of Education reserves the right to require and enforce the use of face coverings in the future if, in consultation with the Madison County Health Director, it is determined that face coverings are necessary to keep schools open.

The Board directs administration to a) implement all possible mitigation strategies other than face coverings to the greatest extent possible while serving all students with in-person learning and b) stay in regular contact with the Madison County Health Director to monitor transmission rates in Madison County and the region. Following the CDC Order mandating the use of face coverings on all school buses, the Board requires face coverings on Madison County Schools’ buses in accordance with this Federal Order.

School officials will continue to meet weekly with the Madison County Health Director as we monitor the COVID data. The Director of Health will continue to update the Board of Education at our regular monthly meetings.


 
7/22/21  Superintendent's Update
 
Madison County Schools received updates to school safety protocols outlined in the Strong Schools Toolkit yesterday afternoon. As we do any time there have been changes in state, local, or federal guidelines regarding the pandemic, school administrators, in consultation with the Madison County Health Director and the Board Attorney, will review these changes and have clear guidance for you as soon as possible.  The updated Toolkit is available on the NCDHHS website, as well as a summary of the recent changes. Additionally, NCDHHS has released updated Back to School Operational Guidance for Vaccinations.  We will continue to follow the guidance of health officials, and we will listen to our community as we work to get our students safely back into classrooms to start the 2021-2022 school year. 
 
03/24/21 Superintendent's Update
 
At Monday night’s meeting of the Madison County Board of Education the Board unanimously approved my recommendation to move to Plan A and begin In Person instruction for all students in our middle and high schools beginning Monday, April 12. Students in K-5 schools are already in Plan A. This decision means that all students in Madison County Schools in grades K-13 can return to school, 5 days per week, for in person instruction. Regarding bus transportation, beginning on April 12, all buses will be allowed to transport students with 2 students per seat, when needed. I want to remind parents and guardians that we will continue to provide the virtual learning option for any student currently enrolled in our virtual program, or for any parent who requests it.

Since we went to remote instruction one year ago, we have worked to keep our students and staff safe, while making decisions that re-open our schools to the fullest extent allowable. As we move forward, we will continue to take steps following state health guidelines and with the full support and cooperation of the Madison County Health Department. It is more critical than ever for us to follow daily safety protocols. Face coverings will continue to be required of all staff and visitors while on Madison County Schools campuses.

A school calendar reminder that this Friday, March 26 is a teacher workday for staff, there will be no classes for students. Friday, April 2 is scheduled as an 11:30 release. We will return from Spring Break on Monday, April 12. Please see an updated 2020-2021 MCS Academic Calendar on our website at www.madisonk12.net

We appreciate the ongoing collaboration with our health department and school nurses in ensuring we have many layers of protection in place at our schools to keep our students and staff healthy. While we look forward to having more students in our buildings, we must remind everyone that community spread of COVID-19 will impact our schools. As we look ahead to Spring Break, we hope everyone will remain vigilant, responsible, and safe so we don’t undo the weeks of hard work it’s taken to get our students back into school full-time.

As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call your school principal, or call me.
 
03/23/21 Superintendent's Update
 

Today Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen announced further easing of restrictions across the state, as our COVID-19 metrics continue to improve.  Additionally, NCDHHS has updated the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12) as our state’s key metrics continue to improve, and the CDC continues to release updated guidance that further clarifies best practices for operating our public schools during the pandemic.

The following key updates have been made to NC’s K-12 public health guidance:

  • All grade levels should operate in Plan A
  • Recommendations added to the Social Distancing and minimizing Exposure in alignment with updated CDC guidance around three feet of social distancing for elementary school students, cohorting and three feet for middle school students, and continuing six feet of distance between adults and between adults and children.
  • Symptom screenings at school entry are no longer required, but are recommended – this includes temperature checks. However, close contact disclosure and positive test disclosure are still required.
  • Recommendations are added and clarified around incorporating screeni​ng testing and diagnostic testing in K-12 settings.
  • Playground structures no longer require regular disinfection
  • Recommendation added that individuals who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic do not need to quarantine if they are identified as close contacts.
 
 
03/09/21 Superintendent's Update
 
Last night the Madison County Board of Education approved my recommendation to begin in person instruction 5 days per week in each of our schools, K-12. We will begin this Friday, March 12 with in person instruction for all students K-5, and with the A day B day schedule for students in grades 6-12.  See the attached A Day B Day Academic Calendar update 3/09/21.  
 
Friday, March 26 will be an Optional Teacher Workday to allow staff to receive their second vaccination. When we return from spring break we will continue with in person instruction, 5 days per week, for the remainder of the school year. The Board of Education also voted last night to approve my recommendation to join HB 90. If approved by the legislature this Local Bill would allow participating districts the option to allow all students to return to classrooms 5 days per week. Each of these steps were considered with the full support of the Madison County Health Director.

I want to thank our parents and guardians and our students for your patience over the past year. While remote instructional days have been valuable it is time to get our students back in school as much as possible, both for academic reasons and for their social and emotional well-being.

There is no precedent for what our students have experienced this year during this public health crisis. We have to do all that we can, as soon as we can, as safely as we can, to get our students back to things that are positive and uplifting for them. For some students that’s time on the playground, athletics, art, music, socializing and, of course, academics. Those high points in our students’ lives are rewarding and give life meaning. I want to thank our teachers and staff for being there for our students every step of the way over the past year. We will continue to closely follow safety protocols and monitor cases, as we always have, and make decisions based on data. The fact that we can consider moving in this direction, after all we have been through as a community, is a positive sign.
 
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call your child's Principal or call me.  
 
01/13/21 Superintendent's Update

As I informed parents and guardians before the winter break if we call a remote instructional day Monday through Thursday due to inclement weather, schools will make every effort to make up the face-to-face instructional day on Fridays of the same week.

Since Monday of this week was called as a remote instructional day due to inclement weather, this Friday, January 15th will now be a face-to-face instructional day.

I also want to remind parents and guardians that there will be no school on Monday, January 18th as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. On this holiday we commemorate the timeless values of public service, his commitment to equality, and social justice that empowered Dr. King’s leadership.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call your child’s principal or call me.

 
12/30/20 Superintendent’s Update
 
 
Due to the surging numbers for positive COVID-19 cases, Madison County Schools will begin the second semester on a remote instructional schedule January 5-January 8, 2021. Please be reminded that January 4th is a teacher workday.
 
We will return to face to face instruction on Monday, January 11, 2021. We are taking this step to minimize the impact of any positive cases resulting from the holidays, and allow time for contact tracing to occur.
 
Also, beginning in January, the Madison County Schools’ daily schedule will begin at 8:00 am and end at 3:00 pm Monday through Thursday with Fridays remaining remote days for deep cleaning of buildings and planning for remote instruction.
 
If we call a remote instructional day Monday through Thursday due to inclement weather, schools will make every effort to make up the face to face instructional day on Fridays of the same week.

12/18/20  Superintendent's Update

This was a historic week as North Carolina, and communities around our country, distributed the vaccine for COVID 19 for the first time. While this is great news, that we might see a light at the end of this pandemic, we still have a long way to go. We must continue to practice our public health safety protocols - if you have symptoms please get tested, wear masks and social distance every day. As a community, we are bracing for a very difficult upcoming three months where we are sure to see a continuing increase in cases in Madison County. We have been fortunate in Madison County Schools’ to have face to face instruction up through November, but surging COVID numbers in Madison County since Thanksgiving have now reached well over 750 positive cases.

Due to those surging numbers, Madison County Schools will begin the second semester on a remote instructional schedule January 5-January 8. Please be reminded that January 4th is a teacher workday. We will return to face to face instruction on Monday, January 11, 2021. We are taking this step to minimize the impact of any positive cases resulting from the holidays, and allow time for contact tracing to occur.

Also, beginning in January, the Madison County Schools’ daily schedule will begin a 8:00 am and end at 3:00 pm.

Schools will continue to be open for face to face instruction Monday through Thursday with Fridays remaining remote days for deep cleaning of buildings, and planning for remote instruction.

If we call a remote instructional day Monday through Thursday due to inclement weather, schools will make every effort to make up the face to face instructional day on Fridays of the same week.

I want to thank our students, parents and guardians for your patience during this semester. We have adapted to virtual instruction, hybrid instruction, new safety protocols, and now winter weather. I want to acknowledge and thank our excellent Madison County Schools staff for their hard work. As we begin our winter break next week, there is hopefulness and there is light, but we have to continue to work together and find the positive. Courage, Grit, and determination are some of the characteristics in human nature that we love best, but those characteristics are most on display and often grow out of troubles. We are certainly facing our share of troubles right now, but they are challenges that we will continue to grow from and, ultimately, we will overcome. As Heather Clubb, our beloved middle school teacher who passed away last week used to say: We have to keep Showing up and we have to keep doing our best, as a community. Underneath all of the chaos and uncertainty, I am reminded at Christmas of the strong message of hope and peace and love. From Madison County Schools’ to all of our families we pray that you have a safe and blessed holiday season.

12/07/20 Superintendent's Update

Please see updated quarantine guidance, masks updates resulting from Executive Order 180, revised vulnerable populations definition, guidance on sports, and a new resource document that addresses requirements and recommendations for recess, and general activities.    

  1. CDC Quarantine Guidance 

Schools are required to: 

Utilize the CDC’s most up-to-date quarantine guidance. Quarantine refers to an individual who has been a close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes cumulatively over a 24-hour period) of someone who is positive with COVID-19. 

*CDC continues to recommend quarantine for 14 days after last exposure. However, as of December 2, 2020, the CDC has offered options to reduce the duration of quarantine in either of the following two scenario. 

*10 days of quarantine have been completed and no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring; 

*7 days of quarantine have been completed, no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring, and the individual has received results of a negative antigen or PCR/molecular test on a test taken no earlier than day 5 of quarantine. 

  1. Executive Order 180 aligns mask requirements for children statewide, removes strenuous exercise exemption 

Schools are required to: 

  • As stated in Executive Order No. 180 on November 23, 2020, ensure that face coverings are worn by all workers, teachers, guests, other adults and children age five (5) or older. In all public and nonpublic schools, all workers, teachers, guests, other adults and children five (5) years or older must wear face coverings when indoors, at all times, unless an exception applies, and when outdoors and within six (6) feet of another person, unless an exception applies. 
    • Examples of where and when masks are required include: Students over age 5 and a teacher are together inside a classroom whether or not they are 6 feet apart. Students over age 5 are in P.E. class indoors whether or not they are 6 feet apart.  
    • Examples of where and when masks are not required include: Students are outside for recess consistently maintaining 6 feet of social distancing at all times. A teacher holds class outdoors with all individuals consistently maintaining 6 feet of social distancing at all times. Students are participating in an outdoor P.E. class with all individuals consistently maintaining 6 feet of social distancing at all times. A teacher is alone in their classroom with the door closed.  

       StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12)   
  • Updated quarantine requirements to reflect new guidelines from the CDC (page 10) 
  • Updated the cloth face covering requirements in alignment with Executive Order No. 180, including requirements for students ages 5 and up (page 5) 
  • Added additional ventilation recommendations in alignment with the CDC (page 11) 
  • Created a glossary of terms (page 23) 
     
    Reference Guide for Suspected, Presumptive, or Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 (K-12)  
  • Updated to reflect masking age requirements (5 and up) throughout document 
  • Updated quarantine guidance from the CDC throughout document, most frequent change being “up to 14 days of quarantine” instead of “14 days of quarantine” 

     StrongSchoolsNC Infection Control and PPE Guidance (K-12)  
  • Updated the cloth face covering requirements in alignment with Executive Order No. 180, including requirements for students ages 5 and up (page 2) 

     StrongSchoolsNC FAQ  
  • Revised questions related to mask requirements (page 3) 
  • Revised questions related to quarantine requirements (page 10) 
  • Added questions about COVID-19 testing in schools (page 12) 
  • Revised vulnerable populations definition (page 12) 
  • Clarified and revised questions about sports and specials guidance (page 7) 

    Thank you for your ongoing commitment as we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

11/23/20 Superintendent's Update

Please find the following press release which references tightening existing mask requirements and enforcement.  Public school mask requirements remain the same.  For the first time the Order references public and private schools. In the case of public schools, masks have been required so nothing about the Order changes our operational guidance.

11/23/20 Governor Cooper's Press Release Executive Order Mask Requirements and Enforcement

 

11.19.20 COVID-19 Update Information Link

11/20/20 Superintendent's Update

Our commitment as a school system has been to keep each of you informed of important data related to COVID 19, and keep you up to date on our efforts to maintain the safest learning environments possible. As Governor Cooper announced earlier this week, Madison County is seeing an increase in active cases in our community, with a potential for increased exposure during the coming Thanksgiving holiday. Madison County Schools is committed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our county.

Over the past 48 hours, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of positive cases in Madison County. Currently, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 tracking dashboard COVID-19 County Alert System shows Madison County having a status of “Substantial Community Spread.” Out of an abundance of caution, and to allow time for contact tracing through the Madison County Health Department to occur Monday, November 23 and Tuesday, November 24, 2020 Madison County Schools will transition to remote learning. Madison County Schools will be closed for students from Wednesday, November 25 through Friday, November 27 for the Thanksgiving holiday.   Students will return to in class instruction on Monday, November 30, 2020. All athletic activities are suspended effective immediately through the holiday.

All schools will continue to be deep cleaned throughout the holiday week. We will continue to follow strict safety protocols in our school system, face coverings will continue to be worn by all students and staff as we work in partnership with the Madison County Health Department to ensure a safe learning environment is maintained. We have to work together as a community to slow the spread of this disease, and that means monitoring symptoms, wearing face coverings, getting tested, and coordinating with the Madison County Health Department so that contact tracing can occur. We are trying to be extremely cautious with this decision and, again, allow for contact tracing to occur. Any student or staff member identified for risk of exposure to COVID-19 through contact tracing will be notified by the Madison County Health Department.

Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks for our many blessings. We hope you have a safe Thanksgiving and remember to practice the highest level of caution while visiting with family and friends. We look forward to the return of in class instruction on Monday, November 30.

10/23/20 Superintendent's Update

Based on information from the Madison County Health Department we have seen a dramatic increase in COVID cases over the past two weeks. This increase can be associated with two events that have unfortunately, impacted Madison County residents. The first event was an outdoor event that took place 2 weeks ago and resulted in 26 positive cases. The second event unfortunately impacted our nursing home in Mars Hill that has resulted in 37 cases. Many of our fellow Madison County residents are recovering, some are quarantined, some are in Intensive Care. We pray for the speedy recovery of our brothers and sisters and everyone impacted by this disease. With the ability to complete contact tracing and rapidly test individuals we can safely say that the impact and the potential for continued spread within our schools is now controlled. With that information we will be able to re-open our schools on Monday, October 26. 

Please understand that our ability to keep our schools open is fragile and depends directly on our willingness to practice safety protocols such as social distancing and mask wearing wherever we are. The pandemic and our educational goals are directly linked together. Madison County is a strong community. If we want to keep our schools open, we have to take safety measures seriously. Any short-term sacrifices we may have to make do not outweigh the long-term goal of keeping our schools open. If you have symptoms, or if your child has symptoms related to COVID please know that your principal and school nurse will work with you. If you are being tested or if you have been exposed, please do not send your children to school. Again, any potential exposure or contact could close our classrooms, our schools, or the entire school system.

I want to thank you for your patience. We know that the best and safest place for our students to be is in school. Let’s all make good decisions and work together, take responsibility, and remember that every day is a gift.

10/20/20 Superintendent's Update

We have seen a rise in positive COVID cases over the past week in Madison County from 146 cases to 197 cases. Just yesterday, we saw an increase of 20 positive cases. This unfortunate increase in positive cases have been linked to events outside of school, but from those positive cases, the disease has found its way into our schools, nursing homes, extracurricular activities, weekend sports games and the community in general. If you, or if someone you know, has been exposed, or is showing symptoms ask them to please stay home and contact their healthcare provider, or the Madison County Health Department as soon as possible. With this data we are going to stay on our remote schedule for Wednesday and Thursday of this week, allow for contact tracing to proceed and testing to continue. On Wednesday, October 21, and Thursday, October 22 Madison County Schools will be on a remote schedule. All athletics and extracurricular events will be cancelled for the remainder of this week. We will return to our regular A Day schedule on Monday, October 26.

As always, we appreciate your patience and we will continue to make decisions that keep our students and staff family safe. By getting through this period without creating the opportunity for more positive cases and exposure, we will hopefully be able to keep our schools open without further disruption to our schedule. But that depends on our willingness to work together as a community, to monitor symptoms and stay home if necessary, wear face coverings, social distance, and wash and sanitize our hands regularly.

10/16/20 Superintendent's Update

 We are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of COVID 19 cases in Madison County. This afternoon Madison County Schools was notified that 19 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed throughout Madison County in the past 24 hours and we are awaiting the results of another 39 tests. At this moment, we are not sure how these cases tie to extended family members and MCS students. Through contact tracing, we can confirm that many of these cases are directly connected to one event involving a number of Madison County residents. As we await test results, and in order to prevent these cases from impacting several of our schools, we will go to remote instruction next Monday and Tuesday while contact tracing is underway through the Madison County Health Department. Any student or staff member identified through contact tracing will be notified by the Madison County Health Department if there is any risk of exposure.

I met with the Madison County Health Director today and we are trying to be extremely cautious, prevent further spread of this disease in our community, and allow for contact tracing to occur. While many of these cases can be traced to specific areas of the county, until we have conclusive information on the impact this outbreak may have in our schools, we will move to remote instruction. On Monday and Tuesday of next week, October 19th and 20th, Madison County Schools will be on a remote learning schedule. All events and extra-curricular activities will be cancelled on those days. 

Madison County Schools will continue to work closely with the Madison County Health Department as we monitor this situation, and we will resume our regular school schedule as soon as possible. Madison County Schools will adhere to all public health guidance and recommendations to keep our staff and students safe. The most important thing that we can do both at school and at home is to follow the 3 Ws: wait 6 feet apart and maintain social distance from others outside of their household, wear face coverings, and wash/sanitize hands often. These public health measures are the best ways to protect against COVID-19 and the goal of these actions is to protect our students and staff and get back to face to face learning and school activities as soon as possible. This unfortunate situation illustrates clearly that we are never entirely insulated from this virus, and that our ability to go to school depends directly on our willingness to follow the key safety protocols of mask wearing and social distancing both in and out of schools. As soon as I receive information on test results and contact tracing from the Madison County Health Department early next week, I will inform parents and guardians on the status of school. As always we thank you for your patience as we work through this public health crisis together.

9/29/20 Superintendent's Update 

On September 17, Governor Roy Cooper announced an executive order that with local Board of Education approval, allows kindergarten through fifth grade students to return to school under Plan A. At last night’s meeting of the Board of Education the Board voted unanimously to allow K-5 students to return to school for face to face instruction starting Monday, October 5. Plan A places no limits on the number of students who are in school at once, and requires face coverings and symptom screenings of all students throughout the day. Plan A will allow for our K-5 students to receive classroom instruction each day (Monday through Thursday) throughout the week without being on an A Day/B Day rotation. Friday will remain a district wide remote learning day for students to allow for deep cleaning of our buses and facilities. Elementary principals will be sending a message home to parents this evening with more specific school information. I want to remind parents and guardians that the Governor’s Executive Order and the Boards decision only applies to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Madison Middle School, Madison High School, and Madison Early College High School will continue under Plan B with no schedule changes occurring at this time.

I want to thank our school community for your tireless flexibility, and for your patience and trust in us. While we move toward Plan A in our elementary schools we do so with caution and with a meticulous focus on following all safety protocols system wide. In many ways, this decision represents another opportunity for us to keep growing and supporting each other. But we still have to be vigilant, we have to prepare, and we have to practice safety both in and out of school. Any positive COVID case can potentially close our schools so please wear a mask, wash your hands and wait 6 feet apart. Thank you for being patient and for giving our excellent school system staff the opportunity to keep our students safe and learning.

 

Re-opening (K-5) Schools under Plan A and continue (6 – 12/13) Schools under Plan B, adhering to the following schedules effective Monday, October 5, 2020

MCS K – 5 Schools                                  MCS 6 – 12/13 Schools
(Brush Creek, Hot Springs, Mars Hill)   /     (MMS, MHS, MECHS)
Monday      8:00 – 2:00                                Monday         A Day
Tuesday      8:00 – 2:00                                Tuesday        B Day
Wednesday 8:00 – 2:00                                Wednesday    A Day
Thursday    8:00 – 2:00                                Thursday       B Day
Friday         Remote Day                                Friday         Remote Day

 

9/17/20 Superintendent's Update

Today at 3:00, Governor Roy Cooper announced an executive order that with local Board of Education approval, allows kindergarten through fifth grade students to return to school under Plan A.  Plan A places no limits on the number of students who are in school at once, and requires face coverings and symptom screenings of all students throughout the day. Under Plan A, social distance requirements apply only in specific parts of the building, not in each classroom. Plan A will allow for our K-5 students to receive classroom instruction each day (Monday through Thursday) throughout the week without being on an A Day/B Day rotation.  If approved, this option may become effective in school districts across North Carolina on Monday, October 5. District plans will be presented to the Madison County Board of Education, and the Madison County Health Director, for consideration. The Board of Education strongly supports bringing students back to school safely for face-to-face instruction.

I want to remind parents and guardians that the Governor’s Executive Order announced today only applies to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Madison Middle School, Madison High School, and Madison Early College High School will continue under Plan B with no changes occurring at this time. 

We are operating in unprecedented times and we are so grateful for the support of our Madison County community. Together we have now seen and prepared for online instruction, hybrid instruction, virtual learning, modified schedules, and now we are looking at returning to school for face to face instruction for K-5 students under Plan A. While that is wonderful, we still have to be vigilant, we have to prepare, and practice strong safety both in and out of school. Any positive case can close our schools so please wear a mask, wash your hands and wait 6 feet apart. I will make an announcement to our learning community on Tuesday, September 29 regarding our next steps as a school district. Thank you for being patient and for giving our excellent school system staff the opportunity to plan so that we can keep our students safe, and learning.

 

9/11/20 Superintendent's Update

I would like to remind parents that we will begin on Monday, September 14 with A Day instruction and continue with our 4-day in person instructional week. Each Friday through the end of October will be a remote learning day for deep cleaning of our schools.

We will begin opening two remote sites for Wi-Fi access for our students and families who do not have Wi-Fi in their homes starting next week. The Ebbs Chapel Community Center and the Laurel Community Center will be open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM for building access, and the parking lots will be open until 5:00 PM so Wi-Fi can be accessed by parents and students who have difficulty with Wi-Fi access in their homes. We want to thank our partners with French Broad Electric, the Laurel Community Center, the Ebbs Chapel Community Center and Madison County who are working with us to provide this resource for our students and families. We will continue to work to open other sites throughout the Madison County community who have limited access to Internet service.

 Please be on the lookout for a message from our school nurses next week. We will have opportunities and locations for students, families and staff to receive flu vaccinations. This year will be a critical year to consider getting a flu vaccination since both COVID 19 and the flu are significant respiratory illnesses.

I would like to finish by praising our students over the past two weeks for a tremendous job with following safety protocols in schools, for respecting the safety guidelines and for their desire to come back to school in a safe way. I am in awe of what I’ve seen in our buildings and what our principals have reported about mask wearing, about maintaining social distance, about being vigilant with handwashing and just doing all the right things and all the responsible things so we can maintain a healthy learning community. Thank you to our students and our parents and guardians for emphasizing safety, and thank you to our wonderful Madison County Schools’ staff for keeping our buildings healthy and safe.

8/25/20 Superintendent's Update

After careful consideration and conversations with the Madison County health director, the Board of Education, and senior staff, and after reviewing the most recent COVID-19 data for Madison County, we feel that it is safe to bring students back under the A Day/B Day schedule starting next week, Monday, August 31.  Also starting on Monday, August 31 all schools will be open at 7:30 am and classes will begin at 8 o’clock on each of our campuses, we will continue to have a 2 o’clock dismissal each day in order to fulfill cleaning requirements and make sure that our buildings are safe for the following day.

 I want to thank parents and guardians, in particular students and staff for your meticulous safety precautions and for following safety protocols outlined by our school system. It is critical that we continue to follow safety guidance provided by our health care providers and our school leadership. Please continue to wear face coverings when out in public, wait and socially distance six feet apart from others, and wash your hands and practice good hygiene. Doing these things will make it safer for students, families and staff, and it will help us to stay in school longer. We are on a long journey together and, fortunately, we have a window of opportunity to get back into school and learn together, sooner than we expected. That window will only stay open as long as we are safe and follow safety procedures.

Your child’s principal will send a message to you today with more specific school based information.

8/17/20 Update 

Computers for Students Enrolled in Virtual and Remote Learning

Madison County Schools has ordered 700 devices for our students enrolled in virtual and remote learning and are expecting to receive these soon. 

However, in the meantime if students have access to a computer at home to begin virtual and remote learning, please let your Principal know.  As soon as we receive the ordered devices, we will make these available for students.  

 

8/14/20 Superintendent's Update

I want to wish our students and parents a great first day of school on Monday, August 17. Our administrators, teachers and staff have worked very hard to make sure that our classrooms and campuses are ready. By now, you will have heard from your school principals and teachers regarding safety procedures, our plans for face to face instruction next week, and our virtual school option.

I want to remind our stakeholders that daily temperature checks, health screenings, and cloth masks are required of all K-12 students, staff and visitors to our schools. Masks will be provided for anyone who does not have one. A doctor’s statement, reviewed by a school nurse, is required for any medical exemption. Thank you in advance for understanding these important safety requirements. We are always hopeful that the data will improve over the coming days and weeks and that we can return to school for more face-to-face instruction.

Transportation attestation forms will be sent home to parents and guardians for transportation services next week. By signing you acknowledge and attest that you are required to temperature check and health screen your child every day, and will not send them to a school bus stop, school facility, or school event if your child has a fever or symptoms of Covid 19. As always we thank you for your patience with our bus schedules as we all start this year under challenging safety guidelines set by the Department of Health and Human Services.

2020 Census information, which occurs every 10 years, will be sent home with your child next week. The Census impacts federal funds that communities like Madison County receive each year for programs and services that are critical to schools such as Free and Reduced priced lunches, Special Education, Head Start, and classroom technology.

Despite the difficulties surrounding the pandemic, we want to remind our parents that Madison County Schools is still a high performing and safe school district. Based on our most recent data we rank 14th in the state in performance, our district graduation rate is above 90%, and we have School Resource Officer’s in each of our schools. We are pleased to report that we have purchased 700 devices for our students. Due to supply chain issues, those computers are on their way. If you have a computer at home that you can use please notify your child’s principal.

Please feel free to go to our district website at www.madisonk12.net for school system announcements, district calendars and links to school websites. I reminded our staff this week that out of adversity good things can happen, and despite the current circumstances we’re going to have a great school year! I would like to invite families and community members to be a part of our schools and the success of our students. On behalf of Madison County Schools’ we thank you for your patience and for your willingness to help us meet this challenge.

8/05/20 Superintendent's Update

We have been looking very closely at the data related to COVID-19 in Madison County. We have seen a 50 percent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases over the past 10 days, which includes an infant and a school aged child in Madison County, and one community member death. In the region, we already have a school with an outbreak and we are concerned about the potential for spread of the disease if we open schools for face-to-face instruction.

  • After multiple meetings with the Madison County Health Director, we have decided our safest option is to open schools from Monday, August 17 through Friday, August 21 to allow students to come in to meet their teachers, receive course materials, and devices for online instruction.
  • We will follow the A day B day daily schedule from 9:00-2:00, masks will be required and provided for all students, staff and visitors.
  • Madison County Schools will move to remote and online instruction on Monday, August 24.
  • If any family needs a device, or lacks Internet access, please contact your child’s principal.
  • We will continue to meet weekly with our County Health Director to receive updates on the health status of our community.
  • Our goal is to return to face-to-face instruction under Plan B on Monday, September 14.
  • During the remote learning period, Madison County Schools will continue to provide meals for students.

We are hopeful that the number of cases will fall in Madison County and that we can get back into schools safely very soon. Let’s continue to work together as a community, practice safety procedures, and slow the trajectory of this virus. We would like nothing more than to open schools, have sports, and give our students the opportunity for socialization, and academics. Right now, after reviewing the data with health officials, we think the health risks are too great for our students, families and staff to return to ongoing face-to-face instruction. Principals will be sending detailed information out tomorrow regarding specific school plans and they will be ready to answer questions. 

I would like to thank you for your patience and support. Please know that we are doing all that we can to prepare quality educational services and experiences for our students in the safest way possible. As always, if you have any questions please email me at whoffman@madisonk12.net or call me on my cell phone at 618-0004.

 

7/22/20  Update--Madison County Schools will provide 5 cloth face masks for each student and staff person. Your child's school will be providing more details regarding when the face masks will be available for your child.  

7/22/20 Superintendent's Update

On Monday night the Board of Education approved Plan B re-opening for Madison County schools. Plan B includes the following:

·         6 foot social distancing in all buildings at all times

·         1 student per seat on yellow buses unless the students are family members or living in the same household

·         Masks are required of all staff, students, and visitors in our schools

·         Daily temperature checks will be conducted for each person entering our buildings

As we have stated before, parents have options for learning, whether that is face to face or completely virtual or remote learning from home. The link for our virtual learning option has been posted to our district webpage at www.madisonk12.net and all school webpages. It is our goal to provide as many options for families as is possible under the guidelines we have been given by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Thank you for responding to surveys on learning options and transportation. Your input is very important to us. We had hoped to open our schools on Monday, August 17 with everyone returning, but due to safety restrictions already mentioned we will return to learn on an A day/B day rotating schedule. This will allow for approximately 50% of our returning students to be in our buildings on a daily basis. Our hourly schedule for Madison County Schools will begin at 9:00 AM and end at 2:00 PM daily which will allow for increased safety precautions including, enhanced cleaning protocols, staff preparation, and daily temperature checks. You will hear more about the daily schedule from your school principal in messages over the coming days.

Under the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines masks will be required of all staff, students and visitors in our buildings unless a student has a medical exception with a documented doctor’s note. Guidelines do allow for mask breaks during the day. If a child has a medical exemption we will find an alternative to the cloth face covering for students which could include a face shield as approved by the department of health and human services. When students are outdoors and more than 6 feet apart, or participating in aerobic activity masks will not be required at all times. We are continuing to receive updated guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services regarding mask requirements, particularly for our most vulnerable students, and our students with disabilities.

This is a time that requires continual vigilance so we all have to be ready to move from Plan B to Plan C if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase. We are in continual contact with the Madison County Health Director, and we will monitor health data on a daily basis so that we can keep our students and staff safe. We want to encourage you to stay positive, stay hopeful, and above all stay safe. Your school system will continue to be here for you throughout this public health crisis.

 

7/21/20 Superintendent's Update 

At last night’s meeting of the Madison County Board of Education, the Board approved the Plan B option for re-opening schools as presented by the Superintendent and administration which provides the Superintendent authorization to make necessary changes in the plan based on guidance, recommendations, or directives from federal, state or local officials, as well as to make changes necessary to ensure the safety of our students.

 

07/14/20 Superintendent's Update

This afternoon Governor Roy Cooper announced that schools will reopen under Plan B. Plan B includes a hybrid form of education for our students with both face-to-face instruction and remote, at home learning.

We will begin Plan B in Madison County schools on Monday, August 17. Plan B includes social distancing in the school building, particularly classrooms and areas where students congregate, frequent handwashing, daily temperature checks for students, staff and visitors, facial coverings and masks are required for all students, staff and visitors, increased outdoor learning and recreation, and enhanced daily cleaning protocols will be vigilantly implemented. Under Plan B no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy capacity is allowed in the building. Now that we have the Governor’s decision on school reopening, Madison County Schools’ officials will meet with the County Health Director to review and approve our plan for reopening under Plan B, and our Board of Education will review our Plan B reopening at their next scheduled Board meeting. I plan to release more specific guidelines for Plan B reopening by next Wednesday, July 23. In the meantime please go to our website and Facebook page for more information on Madison County Schools’ Pathway to Reopening.

I also want to reach out to our families who may have concerns with reopening from a health and safety standpoint. Any Madison County schools family may choose the virtual learning option if they would prefer at home learning for their child. Madison County schools respects your desire to stay home during this time, but we want to continue to provide for you a high quality education, and be sure that you’re getting all the support that you need while learning at home during this critical public health crisis. You have already received survey inquiries from our schools, and I encourage you to participate in those surveys so we can better understand your concerns and readiness to return to school on August 17. Your school will be in touch with you regarding further details on our virtual options. We encourage all our parents who may be considering other online or remote options to stay enrolled with Madison County Schools and to take advantage of our virtual learning option at no cost to your student or family.

 I realize that the unknown and uncertainty of the future can be very disconcerting to students, families and parents. Rest assured that Madison County Schools stands ready to meet the challenges of the new academic year with you. We look forward to a great year with our students and families. We will all need to continue to be patient, flexible and focused over the coming weeks. We will have lots of opportunities to grow and support each other, and we are fortunate to have great support from our community.

 

7/03/20 Superintendent's Update

On Wednesday, July 1st, school districts from across North Carolina were expecting a decision from Governor Roy Cooper on school re-opening August 17. Governor Cooper has been weighing three options for reopening schools: Option A with In Person Learning and all students returning to school, Option B with In Person Learning with 50% of our students returning daily, and Option C with Remote At Home Learning. The Governor did not make an announcement in his press conference regarding school re-opening, but he did say that North Carolina saw the highest day of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 1,843. The Governor did not indicate when he will make a decision on school re-opening, but we anticipate that decision within the next few weeks. I will inform parents and guardians as soon as that announcement is made.

I ask our students and families to please stay encouraged. Public schools are the single most important function of government. Without open public schools our students and families lose critical support, and without open public schools we lose a large piece of our social safety net, and our economy cannot fully function. In order for us to get back into school we have to work harder now than ever to practice safety guidelines, wear masks, and do everything that we can to minimize our exposure to this disease and risk to keep everyone within our learning community safe.

In the meantime, Madison County Schools will continue to work diligently to re-open in the safest manner possible. We are preparing plans, ordering protective supplies and materials so that we can practice the highest standard of safety. We will also be surveying parents, by phone and text next week to get input from you on your preference for face to face learning in school or at home learning for your child starting in August. 

The Lord’s Harvest will not have their regular Friday food distribution at fire departments Friday, July 3 due to the holiday weekend. Those supplemental food distribution efforts will resume next Friday, July 10 from 4 to 6 PM at the regular locations.

If anyone in Madison County needs support with health issues related to Coronavirus, please call Nurse Renee Sprinkle at 828-380-6898.

We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation as we go through this exceptional time in our learning community.

From everyone in the Madison County Schools family we wish you a safe and happy 4th of July weekend.

 

6/29/20 Click on the below link for more information

Madison County Parks and Rec Summer Program Link

6/24/20 Superintendent's Update

Executive Order EO147 Phase 2 Extension 6.24.20 Link

Today Governor Roy Cooper announced a continuation of the “Safer at Home” Phase 2 Executive Order for North Carolina, through July 17. The Governor also announced a requirement for face coverings in all public spaces when individuals are within 6 feet of one another.

We want to reassure parents that we are working daily on re-opening plans across our district. To date, following guidance from the CDC, we have purchased thermometers, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, masks, gowns and gloves to make sure our schools and staff are ready for re-opening. Please go to our website at www.madisonk12.net or our Facebook page and look at the Madison County Schools’ pathway to re-opening. There you will see our 3 Plans for re-opening schools, Governor Cooper will choose which re-opening Plan best meets the needs of North Carolina students on July 1. You will also find links to requirements and recommendations from the department of health and human services to safely re-open our schools.

We are hopeful that we can get back to school by August 17, our opening day, so that we can see our students again, begin the long road of building back lost instructional time, lost social emotional support, so we can share in social events and athletics and continue to move forward as a County. We know, as the great human rights leader Frederick Douglas said, it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men and women. We believe that it is more important now than ever to be strong in our commitment to each other, to follow public health guidelines, and get back to school safely and as soon as possible.

 

6/15/20 Superintendent's Update

Thank you for a great closing week for our students and families! Parents, guardians and community members appreciated the positive way that you celebrated our senior graduates and matriculating students during ceremonies and celebrations last week and throughout the weekend.

During Governor Cooper’s press conference today a K-12 Public Health Toolkit for re-opening schools was released that accounts for a variety of options for getting our students safely back into our classrooms. This toolkit provides 3 plans for re-opening schools, along with requirements and recommendations for student and staff safety. A decision will be made by the Governor on which plan will be implemented to start school on August 17, and this will be based on health data (today was the highest day for COVID-19 related hospitalizations) and the spread of the disease. The most desirable plan will allow for students to return to our schools with minimal social distancing, and that is what we all strive for. However, that depends greatly on how we implement safety guidelines in our daily lives, and ultimately slow the spread. I will keep you informed this week as we dissect the Toolkit contents, attend meetings with statewide and regional superintendents, and plan with district administrators. Again, our return to school is directly associated with the positive direction of our health metrics, and our willingness to follow safety guidelines.

 

5/29/20 Superintendent's Update

We will continue with our Friday supplemental food distribution today through churches, The Lord’s Harvest, and our local fire departments from 4-6 PM.

As the 2019 – 2020 school year winds down I want to extend my congratulations to our students and staff on a job well done! This coming week Madison County Schools will be having our promotion and graduation ceremonies at each of our schools. Please be looking for guidance from your child’s Principal on how each ceremony will be conducted.

I have been thinking a lot about our students this week, particularly our seniors who are about to graduate. They have been faced with a ferocious disruption to their lives and they will graduate in a ceremony that will look different but doesn’t have to feel different. We are extremely proud of the way our Seniors have handled the completion of this year. They were faced with adversity and still handled it with grace. Their attitude has given me a renewed hope and belief that our young leaders will emerge from this crisis even stronger, and certainly more resilient than we ever dreamed. Because they have been handed a challenge that no other generation in a hundred years has been handed, they will be prepared for the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life. I believe that from this experience they will have a sense of self worth, and optimism that is crucial to any persons success.

As a community let’s lift up our graduates in the coming days and let’s celebrate their accomplishments. Let’s challenge them to be compassionate and to find something to stand for in life, to educate themselves to be the best that they can be in whatever they choose. Our prayer is that they go from our school system hopeful about the world and all of their possibilities to impact the world as God uniquely made them to do. Dr. King said that we are tied in a single garment of destiny, whatever affects one of us directly affects us all indirectly. Thank you for your perseverance and patience, and for the critical role you play in the education of your child.

5/22/20  Superintendent's Update

This week the Board of Education approved the 2020-2021 Academic calendar with provisions that were added by the General Assembly in late April. While we do not know the status of re-opening schools in North Carolina at this time, the first scheduled day for classes, whether remote or face to face will be Monday, August 17. The 20-21 calendar will have 5 additional students days added, and at least 5 remote learning days. We will also be able to use at least 5 remote learning days in the case of inclement weather. The approved calendar has been posted to our website and social media. I want to inform our families that we have not received any formal framework or rules on a school reopening plan. Ultimately, we are committed to doing all we can to reopen our schools safely and successfully this fall within the rules and guidance we are given. Rest assured that no matter what is decided, Madison County Schools will be right here ready to serve our students and families in the safest and most productive way possible.

This afternoon at 5:00 Governor Cooper is moving North Carolina to Phase 2 of re-opening. The Governor announced a “cautious approach” in his Phase 2 Executive Order that will be in place for 5 weeks, with a limitation of participants in mass gatherings of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors.

Today our middle and high school principals met with the Madison County Health Director to review plans for graduations, and make sure that those plans meet the safety guidelines outlined by Governor Cooper and the Department of Health and Human Services. We are working diligently to make sure that we honor senior graduates, and all of our students, in the upcoming weeks and keep everyone safe.

This week Madison County Schools served and delivered 8,000 meals to our students and families. We will also continue with our Friday supplemental food distribution today through churches, The Lord’s Harvest, and our local fire departments from 4-6 PM.

As we approach Memorial Day weekend, we are reminded of the service of our veterans, and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Joseph Campbell said that “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” As a community we are facing a challenge that is bigger than any one individual, and we have to pull together to meet this challenge. Thank you for your perseverance and patience, and for the critical role you play in the education of your child.

 

5/15/20 Superintendent's Update

Last week Governor Roy Cooper announced an executive order to open the state to phase one that extends through May 22. Since our decisions are linked directly to the Governor’s timeline we are anxiously awaiting his announcement next week to either open North Carolina to phase 2 or hold at phase I. We will make final decisions regarding end of year graduations at both of our outstanding high schools, and other promotion plans, based on these decisions. In the meantime, we have asked principals to develop multiple plans for end of year celebrations based on safety guidelines from the CDC, the Madison County Health Director and the Governor’s office.

We received word this week that our regular meal service will continue through the summer months, and our yellow buses can be used over the summer months to deliver meals to families.

We will also continue with our Friday supplemental food distribution through churches, The Lord’s Harvest, and our local fire departments each Friday afternoon from 4-6 PM.

If you would like to donate $10.00 to provide supplemental food for Madison County families you will receive 2 Madison County Schools’ shopping bags. Please call Sandy Brigman or Bruce Murray at 649-9276 if you would like to donate. These resources will go toward a fund that provides supplemental food for families in Madison County.

If anyone in Madison County is concerned with symptoms of Coronavirus, or if anyone needs support with health issues related to Coronavirus, including mental health support, please call Nurse Renee Sprinkle at 828-380-6898.

With the end of the school year approaching we ask that you continue to emphasize with your student the importance of finishing the year in a strong and positive way. This has been a challenging time and we want to thank parents and guardians for your patience and perseverance, and for the critical role you play in the education of your child. Much has come to light as a result of this pandemic. The lack of broadband access for many of our residents, the prevalence of food insecurity across our county, and our willingness as a community to come together to solve problems. Today, as we look together toward the end of this school year I am reminded that For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation as we go through this exceptional time in our learning community. 

5/01/20 Superintendent's Update

This week has been School Nutrition Heroes week!  We are deeply grateful for the efforts of our school nutrition staff, bus drivers and support staff.  We couldn't do this without them. 

Next week is educator appreciation week.  We celebrate all of our educators and are so proud of the way they have come together to educate your child in the past month and a half.  We truly have the best educators in the North Carolina!

 We are planning end of year celebrations, promotions, and graduations.  We will adhere to state and local guidelines but be sure to remember that we want to celebrate our students in the best way possible.  We are working tirelessly to accomplish that.  They deserve no less.

 MCS has a rich history in being known as a strong academic district.  We will continue to finish strong this school year as well.  Remote learning will continue and we look forward to celebrating with students at the end of the year.

 I want to inform parents about a new benefits program that is a coordinated effort between the Department of Health and Humans Services and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Each family that receives free or reduced price meals will receive a $257 per child benefit. If you think you may now qualify, due to circumstances related to COVID 19, please go to our school website at www.madisonk12.net and fill out the online free and reduced price lunch application, or call Sandy Brigman at 649-9276. If someone has lost their job, your household income has changed, or your family makeup is different we urge you to apply.

We will also continue this week with our Friday supplemental food distribution through churches, The Lord’s Harvest, and our local fire departments this afternoon from 4-6 PM.

If anyone in Madison County is concerned with symptoms of Coronavirus, or if anyone needs support with health issues related to Coronavirus, including mental health support, please call Nurse Renee Sprinkle at 828-380-6898.

The Board of Education and I want to thank you for your patience during this statewide health emergency.

4/24/20 Superintendent's Update

Today at 2:00 Governor Roy Cooper announced that schools will not reopen for the remainder of the school year. Instruction will continue remotely in all schools throughout North Carolina.  Madison County Schools will continue to follow our current daily schedule and school calendar. Teachers and staff will continue to provide the best possible education for your child as we enter the last month of school. Please encourage your student to finish strong. Continue to look for information on school and district websites and social media. 

We will continue to provide daily meal service until further notice. We will also continue this week with our Friday supplemental food distribution through churches, The Lord’s Harvest, and our local fire departments this afternoon from 4-6 PM.

Today, the Madison County Health Department reported a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our county.  If anyone in Madison County is concerned with symptoms of Coronavirus, or if anyone needs support with health issues related to Coronavirus, including mental health support, please call Nurse Renee Sprinkle at 828-380-6898. Let’s continue to work together to slow the progress of this virus and meet the needs of our students and families.

The Board of Education and I want to thank you for your patience during this statewide health emergency. Our staff will continue to provide additional information to students and families as it becomes available on topics such as final grading, promotion, recognitions, the school calendar and meal service. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s principal or call me on my cell phone at 618-0004.

We know that we have been faced with a huge challenge, however, we control how we react to that challenge. The author C. S. Lewis said – “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”  We can’t go back and change things regarding this event or to lessen the impacts of COVID19, but we can decide how we move forward.  We can control how we react and how we support each other.  We can make sure the ending is more positive than the beginning.  Thank you for taking care of each other.  Let’s keep working together because Better days are ahead.

 

4/20/20 Superintendent's Update

As we return from spring break to remote instruction today, we want to encourage our students to continue working hard and to continue learning. Our teachers have done their best to make the activities accessible and reasonable, and they are ready to help if needed. Thank you for encouraging your students to complete the work. Reach out to your child’s teacher or principal if you have specific questions or needs. We are also continually focused on our senior class. We know that this time has been particularly difficult, and we will do everything in our power to recognize our seniors, and to give them the opportunity to celebrate when this difficult time has passed.

We want to remind families that we have Wi-Fi hot spots available for any student that needs help with connectivity, and each of our school parking lots have drive-in Wi-Fi connectivity.

On Tuesday of last week, Madison County extended their Stay Home Order until May 31. Governor Cooper’s Executive Order requires that schools remain closed through May 15. We are expecting a decision by the Governor to either extend the school closure period or reopen schools by May 1.      As soon as we have information from the Governor, we will share that immediately.  In the meantime, please continue following safety guidelines and best practice procedures, outlined by the Madison County Health Department, that have allowed us to remain one of only seven counties in North Carolina without a COVID-19 case.

Just a reminder - all three branches of the Madison County Public Libraries remain open for curbside service. Parents can place books or movies on hold online or call with their needs. Marshall and Mars Hill are open M-F 10am-4pm and Hot Springs is open Mon and Thurs 10am1pm. Wi-Fi works in all of the library parking lots from 7am-7pm, 7 days a week.

Last week both of our high schools produced face shields and masks for our local health care providers using our 3D printers. We will continue producing masks and shields weekly. You can view a video of the mask making process on our Facebook page or on our website.

Madison County Schools would like to thank the Pisgah Health Foundation for their generous grant of $25,000 to be applied to our supplemental food program. The resources will create an account at Manna food bank that will help our students and families throughout this crisis with food insecurity. We will continue the Friday food box distribution this Friday, April 24 from 4-6 PM. Pick up places will be at the Hot Springs Salvation Army, the Spring Creek Fire Department, the Walnut Fire Department, the Laurel Fire Department, the Mars Hill Fire Department (Annex), and the Ebbs Chapel Community Center.  We appreciate the service of our community Fire departments, community leaders, churches, and health care providers.

If anyone in Madison County needs support with health issues related to Coronavirus, including mental health support, please call Nurse Renee Sprinkle at 828-380-6898.

We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation as we go through this exceptional time in our learning community.

4/15/20 Superintendent' Update

Madison County Stay Home Order Extended: Please see attached the most recent Stay Home Order from the Madison County Commissioners and the Madison County Manager extended through May 31. Governor Cooper announced on March 23, 2020 an extension of his Executive Order requiring that schools remain closed through May 15, 2020.

While the Madison County Stay Home Order can be changed, based on a local decision or a decision by the Governor, the Governor has made no statement to either extend the school closure period or reopen schools. We are expecting a decision by May 1, 2020. As soon as we have information from the Governor, we will share that immediately.

In the meantime, please continue the outstanding work you are doing to implement remote learning, provide meal service, and please continue following safety guidelines and best practice procedures, outlined by the Madison County Health Department, that have allowed us to remain one of only seven counties in North Carolina without a COVID-19 case.

Click on the link below to view the information

Madison County Stay at Home Order Revision

 

 

4/09/20 Superintendent's Update

In this blessed season of renewal, I want to thank you for your support of our school system. As I said last week, let’s continue to work together to slow the progress of this virus, follow safety guidelines and meet the needs of our students and families. We can do great things and overcome any obstacle as long as we remain positive, and work through this challenge together.

Madison County Schools will have our previously scheduled Spring Break. Monday, April 13- Friday, April 17.

There will be no remote instruction during Spring Break.

Additional information will continue to come to you directly from principals to inform you about the next remote learning packet pick up and drop off.

We will continue providing meal service over Spring Break. The Spring Break meal service schedule is being delivered to families, and has been posted to our website and social media. This week we are averaging 1,600 meals per day, which represents a doubling of meal service since the school closure began on March 16.

We will continue the Friday food box distribution this Friday, April 10 from 4-6 PM. Family food boxes are provided by The Lord’s Harvest with meat and produce and will be distributed to any Madison County Schools family, with children ages 0 – 18, who would like to pick one up. Pick up places will be at the Hot Springs Salvation Army, the Spring Creek Fire Department, the Walnut Fire Department, the Laurel Fire Department, the Mars Hill Fire Department (Annex), and the Ebbs Chapel Community Center. We appreciate the service of our community Fire departments, community leaders, churches, and health care providers during this challenging public health crisis.

If anyone in Madison County needs support with health issues related to Coronavirus, including mental health support, please call Nurse Renee Sprinkle at 828-380-6898.

 

4/08/20 Superintendent's Update

MADISON COUNTY SCHOOLS DELIVERY OF SCHOOL MEALS SCHEDULE DURING THE WEEK OF SPRING BREAK (APRIL 9 – APRIL 16) 

 Madison County Schools will alter the delivery of meals slightly beginning on Thursday of this week.  We will:

  • Deliver food on yellow buses on Thursday, April 9.  In this delivery we will bring to your home an additional amount of food to sustain you for Friday, April 10. 
  • We will not run yellow buses for delivery on Friday, April 10.
  • On Friday, April 10, from 4 – 6 pm, family food boxes provided by The Lord’s Harvest, with meat and produce will be distributed to any Madison County Schools family, with children ages 0 – 18, who would like to pick one up.  Pick up places will be at the Hot Springs Salvation Army, the Spring Creek Fire Department, the Walnut Fire Department, the Laurel Fire Department, the Mars Hill Fire Department (Annex), and the Ebbs Chapel Community Center. 
  • We will not deliver food on yellow buses on Monday, April 13.
  • We will deliver food with yellow buses Tuesday (April 14), Wednesday (April 15), and Thursday (April 16).  With the food delivery on Thursday, April 16, we will again supply you with additional food for Friday, April 17.  Yellow buses will not run on Friday, April 17. 
  • Please keep all additional food that is not initially consumed refrigerated.
  • Monday, April 20, we will resume regular food delivery on our yellow buses daily.

If you have any questions regarding meal delivery please contact your child’s Principal.  If you have any questions regarding meal pick up at one of the locations listed above please call Bruce Murray at (828) 380-0807.

 

4/03/20  Click on the link below to view the information

NC DPI COVID-19 Parent and Family FAQs

 

4/01/20 Superintendent's Update: Graduating Seniors, Health Information and Supplemental Food Distribution

This week district administrators have been focused on developing grading procedures for our students, and focusing on the critical factors for effective remote learning. We will have more information for students and parents by the end of the week related to our remote learning grading policy for our K-11 grade students. I will speak more about our plan for our graduating seniors in this message. Please know that our focus is on supporting student growth and progress through this school year, and communicating feedback to students and families, rather than assigning grades.

Graduating Seniors

• The State Board of Education has provided guidance to all NC public schools for all seniors who will graduate with the class of 2020. The intent is to  give every senior, every opportunity to graduate.
• Grading practices for transcript purposes will hold seniors harmless for the impact of COVID-19. Seniors will receive grades for fall courses and fall grades will count toward GPA.
• Graduating Senior grades will be converted to a Pass or Withdrawal based on their learning as of March 13, for spring courses. Seniors can be withdrawn from a course if the course is not required for graduation and only in consultation with counselors and administrators. While seniors in high school courses will receive no failing grade for course time past March 13, they are strongly encouraged to complete courses in order to prepare for post-secondary education and the workforce.
• Remote learning for graduating seniors who were not meeting course expectations as of March 13 will be prioritized. Course expectations can be met through remote learning, virtual public schools, credit recovery, or locally developed assessments.
• The State Board of Education has waived all local credit requirements for graduation beyond the 22 course credits required for graduation, and they voted to suspend all requirements regarding end of course assessments through June 30, 2020.

With these steps in place we hope to see all of our seniors graduating this year, and held harmless for the consequences of this public health crisis.

Health Information

If anyone in Madison County is concerned with symptoms of Coronavirus, or if anyone needs support with health issues related to Coronavirus, including mental health support, please call our Madison County Communicable Disease Specialist, Renee Sprinkle at 828-380-6898.

Supplemental Food Distribution

Regular meal service will continue in Madison County as chronic hunger and food insecurity are increasing in this environment. Today our school system heroes, the child nutrition staff, bus drivers, teachers, teacher assistants, office staff, principals and volunteers prepared and delivered 1,400 breakfast and lunch meals to Madison County children up to 18 years of age.

On Friday, April 3rd, from 4-6pm, family food boxes provided by The Lord’s Harvest, with meat and produce will be distributed to any Madison County Schools family, with children ages 0-18, who would like to pick one up. Pick up places will be at the Hot Springs Salvation Army, the Spring Creek Fire Department, the Walnut Fire Department, the Laurel Fire Department, the Mars Hill Fire Department (Annex), and the Ebbs Chapel Community Center. We appreciate the service of our community Fire departments, community leaders, churches, health care providers during this challenging public health crisis.

We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation as we go through this exceptional time in our learning community. If you have any questions during this closure period, please don’t hesitate to call your child’s principal, or call me on my cell phone at 618-0004.
 

 

3/27/20 Superintendent's Update.  Click on the link below to view the information.

Madison County Supplemental Declaration Stay at Home Order

 

3/25/20 Message from Madison County Schools

Friday, March 27th, from 4-6 pm, family food boxes provided by The Lord’s Harvest, with meat and produce will be distributed to any Madison County Schools family, with children ages 0-18, who would like to pick one up. Pick up places will be at the Hot Springs Salvation Army, the Spring Creek Fire Department, the Walnut Fire Department, the Laurel Fire Department, the Mars Hill Fire Department (Annex), and the Ebbs Chapel Community Center.

3/25/20 Superintendent's Update

Governor Roy Cooper announced on Monday, March 23 that schools will remain closed until May 15. Although school buildings are closed, learning can and will continue in Madison County Public Schools.  Last week, Madison County Schools began implementing our plan for remote learning. Our Remote Learning Plan, which is posted to our website, will help guide remote learning opportunities during this school closure.

Here is how MCS has continued to move forward this week and in the weeks to come:
Remote learning packets, digital resources and schedules for all K-12 students are continually updated on our school and district websites, and through direct communication from our MCS teachers who are available to provide support and offer assistance during this time.
• Our counselors and social workers are available to speak with any parent or student during this closure period.
• Staff and senior leaders continue to lean on the state for guidance as we move forward with remote learning opportunities for students.
• WiFi connectivity is available in the parking lots of Madison High School, Madison Early College High School, Madison Middle School, and Hot Springs Elementary School. We would also like to thank our partners at Mars Hill University and AB Tech who have WiFi access in their campus parking lots.
• We have secured digital Hot Spots for students, and connectivity for 5 of our school buses, through grants from the Dogwood Trust and support from ourpartners in Madison County Government.

Regular meal service will continue as long as circumstances permit. Today our child nutrition staff prepared, and our drivers delivered 1,300 breakfast and lunch meals to Madison County children up to 18 years of age.  On Friday, March 27th, from 4-6pm, family food boxes provided by The Lord’s Harvest, with meat and produce will be distributed to any Madison County Schools family, with children ages 0-18, who would like to pick one up. Pick up places will be at the Hot Springs Salvation Army, the Spring Creek Fire Department, the Walnut Fire Department, the Laurel Fire Department, the Mars Hill Fire Department (Annex), and the Ebbs Chapel Community Center. 

We appreciate the service of our community Fire departments, community leaders, churches, health care providers during this challenging public health
crisis."  We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation as school staff and administrators navigate through this exceptional time in our nation and our state.

3/23/20 Superintendent's Update

Today at 1:00 PM Governor Roy Cooper announced a statewide Executive Order closing all North Carolina public schools through May 15, 2020.

I want to thank our principals, teachers and teacher assistants for developing distance-learning opportunities for our students that were put into place last week. I want to thank our students and parents for working in unison with our staff to implement remote learning. Together we all recognize that we need to stay in close contact as teachers, students and guardians to continue to nurture the social and emotional well-being of our students. Students and particularly our SENIORS - we are hopeful that school will be getting back in session in May and we will be promoting the activities that allow us to showcase YOU. We are thinking of you, and we continue to develop plans daily to ensure that you are at the center of each decision.

While school buildings are closed for students, we will continue to provide meal service through the Madison County Schools’ Child Nutrition program. Cafeteria staff, clerical staff and bus drivers prepared and delivered over 3,000 meals last week to our students. That critical service continued today and, based on the Governor’s statement, will continue as long as circumstances permit. We want to thank our staff for fulfilling this critical public school mission! We also want to thank our custodial staff, and our maintenance staff for supporting meal service, keeping supply orders up to date, and keeping our buildings and grounds clean and safe. I also want to inform parents that the North Carolina State Board of Education voted unanimously today to seek a one-year waiver from the U.S. Department of Education for federal student testing and accountability requirements for the 201920 school year because of school closures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, if anyone would like to speak with a Madison County Schools educator, please feel free to call your child’s principal or call me on my cell phone at 618-0004, at any time. No question is off the table.

The Board of Education and I want to thank our parents and guardians for your steady support during this statewide health emergency. We appreciate your willingness to come together to solve problems as we support our students, and each other, through this unforeseen health crisis.

3/20/20 Reminder 

On Friday, March 20th, from 4-6pm family food boxes provided by the Lord’s Harvest, with meat and produce will be distributed to any family who would like to pick one up. Pick up places will be at the Hot Springs Salvation Army, the Spring Creek Fire Department, the Walnut Fire Department, the Laurel Fire Department, the Mars Hill Fire Department, and the Ebbs Chapel Community Center.  We appreciate the service of our community Fire departments, community leaders, churches, health care providers and the leadership of our county Health Director, Tammy Cody.

 

3/18/20 Superintendent's Update

On behalf of Madison County Schools I would like to again thank you for your trust and patience during this closure period. We are hoping for the best and planning for the worst as we all go through this.  When Governor Cooper delivered the Executive Order on Saturday, he closed K-12 schools for a minimum of 2 weeks. Madison County Schools is preparing for a longer closure period, and we want you, our families, to be prepared. Schools have been surveying you this week on Internet access, we have written grants for additional hot spot connectivity for our students without WiFi access and connectivity for our school buses and bookmobile. We have published on our website designated areas of our parking lots with Internet service and we are working with community volunteers to provide additional food support for our families. All of this while we are working to prepare learning packets, curriculum and meal delivery should the Governor extend his order and close schools for additional weeks.

Today we prepared and delivered over 500 meals to children in our community ages 0-18. We will continue to use yellow buses to deliver hot lunches and supplemental food with staff members and volunteers during this time. If you would like a meal delivered to your child please call your child’s school, central office at 828-649-9276 and we will get you connected to services you may need for distance learning, nutrition, or health and wellness.

On Friday, March 20th, from 4-6pm family food boxes provided by the Lord’s Harvest, with meat and produce will be distributed to any family who would like to pick one up.  Pick up places will be at the Hot Springs Salvation Army, the Spring Creek Fire Department, the Walnut Fire Department, the Laurel Fire Department, the Mars Hill Fire Department, and the Ebbs Chapel Community Center.  We appreciate the service of our community Fire departments, community leaders, churches, health care providers and the leadership of our county Health Director, Tammy Cody.

Finally, I want to say how extremely proud I am of our Madison County Schools staff. Every employee, regardless of assigned duty, has come together to provide the best possible care for our students. We will continue to make positive things happen within our county because the children of our county depend on us and we are not going to let them down.

 

3/16/20 Superintendent's Update

Today we served lunches to approximately 450 students countywide. Starting tomorrow, we will be delivering over 450 meals throughout the county using yellow buses and meal pickup for our students will be available at each school between 11:00 am and 12:30 pm. These meals are for any child in Madison County Schools between 0 and 18 years of age. If a parent would like their child to be added to the meal delivery list please call your child’s school by 9:00 am tomorrow morning.

A "Distance Learning" tab has been established on our district web page. These packets are designed for review after a two week window of time. Madison County Schools will continue to update these links and add materials for your students. While the Governor’s Executive Order calls for school closure for up to a 2 week period of time, we want to be prepared should this order be extended. Regardless, Madison County Schools will continue to modify, upload, and deliver instruction to your child. Please check the district page, as well as your child’s school webpage weekly for updates to your child's instructional distance learning packet.

If you have any need related to instructional services, student meals, or health and wellness please don’t hesitate to fill out the community outreach forms online, or call your child’s school or the district phone number at 828-649-9276 and we will get you connected to the assistance you and your family needs.

 

3/16/20 Superintendent's Update                                                                                 

Madison County Schools will be providing a to go lunch for all of our students during the school closures. Please drive by your child's school today, Monday, March 16th during the hours of 11:00 am until 2:00 pm to pick up a free to go hot lunch for your child.

 

3/15/20 Superintendent's Update

We would like to update parents on important procedures regarding at home learning and food distribution our schools will be following beginning tomorrow, March 16.

Kindergarten through 5th grade at home student learning packets have been uploaded to the school and district websites. You will be able pick up those packets starting tomorrow from 11:00 – 2:00 at your child’s school. If you are not able to pick up a learning packet, or if you do not have access to a computer, all K-5 teachers will be calling parents to discuss at home learning opportunities and answer any questions you may have.

Madison Middle School students have already received their at home learning packets.

High School students will receive direction on instructional protocols from their principal and teacher in the coming days, students may also access our campus parking areas for Internet access to help with online assignments.

Each of our schools will continue to provide guidance for families on at home learning during this closure period through school messaging.

At this time students from all schools are invited to pick up a free hot lunch, and any personal belongings your child may need from 11:00-2:00 tomorrow at your child’s school. We will continue to develop food distribution plans this week that will include school pick up of meals and home delivery of meals through our school transportation department. We will survey families who would like to receive meals with options that include school pick up or at home delivery. Child nutrition is making all meals free for each of our K-12 students during the closure period.

As always, we thank you for your support and understanding through this process. We will continue to keep you informed both from the district and school level as we go through this school closure period together, and as new information becomes available.

 

3/14/20 Superintendent's Update

Today at 4:30 pm Governor Roy Cooper announced a Statewide Executive Order closing all North Carolina public schools for a minimum of 2 weeks beginning Monday, March 16. Furthermore, based on input from the Madison County Health Department, all early childhood centers and school age care centers will be closed until further notice. Madison County Schools senior staff will meet tomorrow morning to further develop plans for our students that include distance learning and providing meals during this closure. We will communicate those plans to students and families through school and district phone messaging, our website and Facebook. The Board of Education and I want to thank you for your patience during this statewide health emergency. My staff and I will continue to provide additional information to students and families as it becomes available.

 

3/12/20  Superintendent's Update                             

Based on directives from the Madison County Health Department and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association all Madison County Schools interscholastic athletics are suspended until further notice, this includes all workouts, skill development, practices and contests.

 

Please click on the links below to view the information.

Update from the Superintendent Coronavirus (COVID-19) 3.12.20

2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Fact Sheet

 

 

District continues prioritizing diligent cleaning, hygiene

Madison County Schools is proactively coordinating with the Madison County Public Health Department regarding the new coronavirus. You may have heard it referred to as COVID-19.

To keep the risk low in Madison County Schools, staff and students are being encouraged to continue the best practices for good hygiene promoted daily throughout the district:

·         Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

·         Avoid close contact with people who are ill

·         Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze

·         Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose

·         Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched

These measures are already emphasized at all of our schools during flu season. In addition, the school system's custodial-supply company stocks all schools with appropriate products for disinfecting and cleaning common-touch areas such as water fountains, doors, desks and tables.

The district will continue working with the Madison County Public Health Department to monitor this situation and take appropriate measures.