The latest communication to ArtSpace families from Executive Director Sarena Fuller about reopening for the 2020-2021 school year can be found below. The most recent email will be at the top of the page.
January 5, 2021
As you know, COVID-19 cases in our area are spiking, delivering record high numbers in cases and percent positives, showing substantial community transmission. For that reason, and with the health and safety of our students and staff in mind, the board has made the difficult decision to extend our period of remote learning through January 29th, with an anticipated return to campus on February 1st.
While this is certainly not the way we wanted to start this year, we believe that it is the safest, most appropriate decision at this time. We are in a constant state of monitoring and evaluating, as we understand well the value of in person instruction. Please note the following in preparation for the next few weeks:
- Participation in live sessions is expected. If your child is struggling to connect and engage, please reach out to your child’s teacher.
- School Material Exchange – January 13th, 8am-4pm – (Drive through) Grade level specific information will come from your child’s teacher.
- Schedules, assignments, and resources will be updated on the class sites.
- If your family is in need of assistance, please contact us by following the applicable links here: Technology, Food, Counseling
- As we prepare for students’ return to campus, anticipated on 2/1/21, we plan for students to return following the schedule and cohort assignments from before break. We are looking for COVID metrics to move to safer levels before consideration of the extension of on campus programs (more students or more days).
Although we are in a period of remote learning, I ask that you continue to communicate with us any positive COVID-19 diagnoses, symptoms, or close contacts. Please share this information with our nurse, Ms. Tina, as this will help us support you and prepare for future decisions regarding on campus learning.
I urge caution and thoughtfulness in the days and weeks to come, following the 3 W’s – wear a cloth face covering, wait 6 ft apart, wash your hands. North Carolina remains under a modified Stay at Home order and NCDHHS has recently updated their guidance for gatherings and travel.
Thank you for your understanding, resiliency, and collaboration.
December 15, 2020
Good evening families,
We have been consistently monitoring the COVID metrics and reviewing the latest guidance and research on school reopenings. I continue to believe in the importance of having our students on campus and I am proud of the work we have done to implement proven mitigation strategies. I also acknowledge and deeply appreciate the work that you, our families, have done to prepare and support your children throughout.
However, the metrics are not good. In addition to the alarming increase in percent positive, the number of new cases is rising and the demand on health department resources is extensive. We also have increasing concerns about the anticipated post-holiday surge, our staff capacity, and our community’s safety.
For that reason, the PACE Board and administration have made the difficult decision to move ArtSpace fully remote for the week of January 4th through 8th. This time will allow us to evaluate the community metrics and minimize the risk moving forward. During this time, students will engage in remote learning and live zooms, with teachers communicating specific plans through email and class sites.
We will continue reviewing all available resources, with the goal of returning to campus on Monday, January 11th, following the current cohort and scheduling model, pending reevaluation in early January. Any confirmation or adjustment to that plan would be announced by January 6th. In the interim, we encourage all families and staff to follow the NCDHHS guidelines on celebrating safely this holiday season, including avoiding travel and limiting contact outside your household.
Our priority is the physical and mental health of our children. Our students are incredibly resilient, and there’s an entire ArtSpace community here to support you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if needed.
October 23, 2020
Dear ArtSpace families,
There has certainly been much activity on campus these past few weeks, as we continue remote learning and prepare for reentry. I appreciate your responses to the reentry registration. We are finalizing our rosters and will set up our classrooms for success based on those numbers. Of course, we continue to monitor COVID-19 metrics and state guidance, preparing as best we can to be adaptable to the ever-changing circumstances.
Our most current plans are shared with you in the new Family Reentry Guidebook. This document has information about the school day, drop off, health & safety, and communications. I also share the specific criteria we are looking at when making tough decisions. I know it is a lot of information, but I do hope you will find it helpful. This document will be updated as needed with changes announced to you through “This Week” email updates and on the website.
In this week’s “This Week,” coming to you on Sunday, you’ll see a facility update, reminders for the Halloween Festival, and new staff announcements. Exciting things are happening! Thank you for being our partners in this work.
Have a splendid weekend.
October 13, 2020
I hope you are enjoying the warm fall days and beautiful sunshine. As promised, linked below is the Reentry Registration form. Before completing, please review the following:
- This form is required for all students.
- Complete a separate form for each child attending ArtSpace.
- Please complete on or before October 15th.
- Refer to Thursday’s letter and following FAQ for more specific information about the plan, including dates and times.
- ArtSpace is following state guidance on the requirements for use of face coverings and masks.
- AfterCare availability is limited and requires pre-registration, which will be sent separately to parents based on responses on this survey. “Drop in” or “as needed” services are not offered. There is no Before Care and students may not be dropped off before 8am.
- Families who choose to remain remote may not change to in person learning until the beginning of the second semester on January 19th.
Please find the Reentry Registration here. You can expect more communication with me next week, which will include a Back to School: Reentry Guidebook with the “need to know” info for these next steps in our pandemic journey.
ArtSpace Charter School
October 8, 2020
As we near the end of another week of remote learning, I again send my thanks and sincere appreciation for your hard work, persistence, and grace in supporting the children and our larger school community. Today’s note is meant as a progress report on how ArtSpace continues to move forward in our plans for reentry.
This week, we opened our Bridge program. This program, currently, is at capacity. We know that many families are struggling with work and other obligations and that some students are simply not able to successfully engage in remote learning. We want our students on campus and are working diligently towards extending on campus opportunities, given the limits of staff and safety requirements, while maintaining remote learning as our primary instructional delivery.
Our re-entry planning is hindered by the constantly changing environment of COVID-19 metrics. There are many moving variables and some of the hindrances from the summer are still impacting our plans now. In the interest of full transparency, any parent who would like more detailed information on the factors that influence our planning may find it in this FAQ. Finally we are closely watching neighboring schools who have reopened and remain focused on the non-negotiable priority of safety for our students and staff.
We currently plan to bring K-3 students back to campus on November 9th and grades 4-8 on November 30. Ideally, all students choosing in-person instruction will attend school 4 days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday). Our tentative daily schedule will be 8:10 – 2:10pm. We will not be able to offer before care, but will have limited openings for after school care by pre-registration. Families will still have the option to choose remote only learning through the end of the first semester (January 14).
From our last parent survey, we know roughly 40% of our student population is electing for remote only instruction. This knowledge let us know that we meet the guidelines for reduced capacity and helped us craft our re-entry plan in broad strokes. We now need updated information very similar to the information provided in the summer, so we can create specific groupings by grade level. We apologize for the large number of surveys families are being asked to complete, but your prompt responses are essential as we finalize our plans. This reentry registration will be sent early next week.
We wish we had a timeline for when we can expect to resume school full time and have all our students together on campus. We worry about the impact on our students’ mental well being and academic growth, as well as the hardships being placed on working parents. We are doing everything we know to craft a safe way forward that meets the needs of our community. We remain open to your suggestions and feedback. This is work we do together.
September 23, 2020
Last night, the PACE Board approved our proposal for a phased return to in person instruction. It goes without saying that these decisions are difficult beyond measure. In the past week, I have heard your feedback. The admin team and the board have poured over more than 400 comments, emails, and submissions from families and staff. I am aware that our path forward will be too soon for some, and not soon enough for others. The feelings are strong along the continuum of needs.
The metrics were not the only consideration in developing this plan. We also have to consider the school’s resources, student needs, staff needs/availability, and our ability to execute our plan well, so that all students have access to high quality instruction with the teacher support they need. To review the information shared with the board, see our website.
With that, our reentry plan is as follows:
- Remote Learning – As a primary mode of instructional delivery, remote learning will continue through the first quarter. See an updated calendar here.
- Bridge Program – October 5 – This on-campus program will provide enhanced opportunities for students with exceptional needs and those identified through the Student Support Process. In addition, opportunities for all students to come on campus for support, enrichment, and social connections will be offered starting mid-October. Details and registration coming soon.
- Phase-In I – November 9 – In person instruction with reduced class sizes, 4 days per week, in grades K-3*.
- Phase-In II – November 30 – In person instruction with reduced class sizes, 4 days per week, grades 4-8*, pending state restrictions.
*Families who elect remote only instruction will continue with remote learning.
As our team refines the plan, we are prioritizing our students’ learning and our community’s safety. You can expect ongoing communication as we develop our Reentry Guide for Families in collaboration with our School Improvement Team and staff.
I am confident that this thoughtful, conservative plan will enable ArtSpace to provide effective student support, instructional quality, and as much consistency as possible in a season of inevitable change. Thank you for your communication, honesty, and grace.
September 18, 2020
Good afternoon families!
An update: School leaders statewide are reviewing their reentry plans based on yesterday’s unexpected announcement from the Governor. ArtSpace continues to develop and refine our reentry plans, looking closely at the feasibility of bringing students back on campus. We are once again asking you to respond to a brief survey, acknowledging that much has changed since the last survey in July.
We appreciate your ongoing support and communication! Stay tuned for more information from the board next week.
Have a delightful weekend!
September 17, 2020
This afternoon, Governor Cooper announced that schools in North Carolina are permitted to open in Plan A for kindergarten through 5th grade. This is a pivotal moment for our state, as it continues the path towards reopening. I am heartened to see our state’s metrics improving, and I understand well the need to have our students back in school.
However, I also know that the threat remains and am aware of the real logistical hurdles that lie ahead. The administration and the board have been hard at work discussing our further reentry plans. We have solicited feedback from you and our staff, and we’ve been in conversations with school leaders statewide. Tomorrow, you’ll receive a survey to help us with our next steps. I want to thank you all for your communication, involvement, and grace.
I want to assure you that our decisions will be intentional and student-focused. We will consider community health as a priority. We will also examine our capacity to provide a safe, positive learning environment that upholds our values and educational mission. Our board is meeting again Tuesday evening.
We will continue the work of planning with you. Look for the survey in your inbox tomorrow and stay tuned.
August 3, 2020
Our team has been hard at work putting together details of our reopening plan for remote learning. As promised, attached is a guidebook to help you and your child prepare for school.
On August 13, you’ll receive a letter from your child’s homeroom teacher that will include:
- an introduction to the grade level team,
- a link to the sign up for Meet the Teacher conference times,
- a detailed list of school supplies you may want to have at home,
- a link to the request for tech if you need it (as usual, 7/8th graders will be assigned Chromebooks).
It is important for you to review the attached guidebook for more detailed information on the remote learning plan, Meet the Teacher, and orientation week.
July 28th, 2020
Dear ArtSpace families,
We have been dedicated to planning a safe reentry, designing an educational program that is both academically engaging and rigorous for our students and sustainable for our teachers. However, COVID is relentless, impacting even our best plans. We have determined that our plan B cannot be implemented as originally planned due to staffing needs, resources, and concerning metrics in Buncombe County and North Carolina. We concur with other area school leaders in calling for a slower reentry.
For this reason, ArtSpace is revising our reopening plan. We are shifting to remote only learning until September 28. We now pivot and turn our attention to refining the remote learning experience, including on campus orientation days for students. We will reevaluate through August to determine a further reopening plan.
Administration is actively planning strategies to support our students who may be disenfranchised or marginalized by remote learning. We are committed to developing on campus services as needed, where we can adequately ensure a safe environment. Keeping our students connected and engaged remains a high priority for us. In the next week, you will receive more information from us regarding orientation days, technology, and remote learning expectations.
We are disappointed to have to make this decision. As we know all too well, change in the time of COVID is inevitable. We’ve grown skilled in our flexibility and adaptation; yet, I understand the challenges and I share in your frustration. Together, we will persevere, with faith that we will be able to return to school when it is safe and sustainable.