SYLVA, NC — The Jackson County Board of Education approved a recommendation by Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton to move grades 6-12 to the state’s “Plan A” and increase the number of in-person learning days from the current two days per week to four days per week effective April 5 when students return from spring break.
The change is in response to the recently passed NC Senate Bill 220 that gave school districts the option of operating middle and high schools under “Plan A.” In Jackson County, students in grades PreK-5 have been attending in-person four days per week since October 5when Governor Roy Cooper eased restrictions for elementary schools.
“Our goal this year has always been to have all of our students in school,” Tipton said. “We have moved forward cautiously each time the governor changed the restrictions and allowed for more students in school.”
With the exception of Jackson County Early College, all students can attend school in-person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday beginning April 5. Wednesday will continue to be a remote learning day for those schools. JCEC students will attend Monday through Thursday with Friday as their remote learning day.
Families who would like to move current remote-only students to in-person learning should contact their child’s school as soon as possible to arrange a transition. The option of remote learning will continue to be available for all families through the end of the school year.
With the new plan in place, administrators must move quickly to accommodate the sudden increase in demand for services such as transportation and school nutrition, and middle and high school teachers must prepare for class sizes to double.
Nonetheless, the superintendent believes this is the right move at the right time.
“While this will create a great deal of work for our principals and teachers, it is the right thing to do,” Tipton said. “I fully believe we are in a position to have a strong finish to the school year while keeping our staff and students safe.”