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Staffing shortages force some Macon schools to go remote

The Macon County Board of Education called an emergency board meeting Monday night to address staffing concerns within the district.

Following the emergency meeting, board members voted to suspend face-to-face instruction for Union Academy, Mountain View Intermediate School, and Macon Middle School beginning Wednesday, August 26, through Friday, September 11, 2020. Franklin High School already returned to Plan C over the weekend.

Highlands, Nantahala, and Macon Early College will continue on with their current plan. Franklin area K-4 will continue on with their current plan throughout the remainder of this week and will then be re-evaluated.

The suspension of instruction was not based on an outbreak of positive COVID19 cases. According to Macon County Schools Superintendent as of today, there are 6 known positive cases across the district.  The suspension of instruction is due to the loss of staff due to quarantine.

East Franklin Elementary School currently has 6 students and 1 teacher in quarantine with one positive case.

Mountain View Intermediate has 16 students, four teachers, and one substitute in quarantine with one positive case.

Macon Middle School has 31 students and six teachers in quarantine and one positive case.

Franklin High School currently has 49 students and 13 staff members in quarantine with a total of three positive cases.

There are an additional 21 cafeteria staff, two school nurses, and one health assistant across the district in quarantine.

The individuals in quarantine are due to coming in direct contact with a positive COVID19 case. Per North Carolina guidelines, that exposure requires a 14 quarantine, regardless if they test positive or not. Because of the high number of staff having to quarantine at this time, the schools had to transition to virtual learning.

While Union Academy does not have any positive cases in students or staff, staff members do have children who are having to quarantine, therefore they have to be out to care for those children.

Franklin High School has also extended the dead period for sports until August 31, according to FHS Athletic Director Blair King.

The district will reevaluate after the Labor Day break to determine if schools can return to Plan B instruction.

Macon County Schools will continue to work closely with the Macon County Health Department as we move forward.

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