Reentry 20/21 Updates
Plan A Update - March 26, 2021
March 26, 2021
Happy spring! We are thrilled to be transitioning to “Plan A” after spring break, welcoming more students back on campus. This communication will have a great deal of information in preparation for this next transition. Please review carefully.
The school calendar for the remainder of this year can be found here. Note the workdays on 4/2 and 4/12. K-8 students will return to Plan A learning on April 13th. School will be in session from 8:15-3:10 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Morning care is available beginning at 7:30 at no charge. Students will be marked tardy after 8:15.
Beginning 4/13, AfterCare will be offered from 3:30 to 6 p.m., except Wednesdays. We will provide a daily snack and enrichment opportunities, such as homework support, cooperative games, outdoor play, and a variety of arts and crafts activities each week. Click here for cost, sessions, and registrations.
In accordance with state requirements, ArtSpace continues to offer remote learning for families who self identify as high risk. Remote learning is not available for in-person students in the event of routine absences or travel. Students will not be able to change instructional cohorts during quarter 4 without prior approval.
For drop off and pick up, all traffic should turn off Hwy 70 onto Reger or Rowland Avenues, circling behind the school and approaching the campus on Sherwood Road. Drivers should avoid blocking neighborhood driveways and stay attentive to carline and pedestrian traffic. A hang tag will be provided for pick up. Write your child’s first name and grade level, large and in dark marker.
If your child is returning to in-person learning and is in K-6th grade, please turn in any school issued chromebook, case, charger, hotspots, headphones, or other accessories to your child’s homeroom teacher on Thursday, April 1 or by drop off on Friday, April 2.
We remain committed to layering mitigation strategies. This includes following the 3 W’s (Wear, Wait, Wash), enhanced cleaning, improved HVAC systems, and utilization of outdoor spaces. Communication is critical. Please continue to share with us any symptoms, close contacts, potential exposures, or diagnoses.
Some of you may be considering traveling over spring break. There are still risks associated with travel. Please review these recommendations from CDC. If you do travel and congregate, within guidelines, consider testing before and after your celebrations. Your decisions over break will impact our school community. We value our partnership and depend on each other to mitigate the risks of transmission inside our school.
Back to School Anxiety
Transitions can be anxiety inducing for students (and parents) even during the best of times, and the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in student anxiety as we continue to adjust to the changing realities around us. Ms. Tiffany has created this tip sheet as a tool for you and your family as you navigate this new quarter with your student.
Next week, you’ll receive more specific information from your child’s teacher, including updated schedules for remote learners and reminders for in-person learners.
Have a great weekend!
Reentry Update for 3/17/21
March 17, 2021
One year ago I was sharing with you news of our first pandemic-related closures. I am delighted to be emailing you now to share plans for additional reopening for in person learning. The growing consensus is that the benefits of increased in person learning far outweigh the current diminishing risks, especially when combined with mitigation strategies.
The state has unanimously supported requirements for increased in-person instruction. First, grades K-5 will move to Plan A in-person instruction effective April 13th. The mandates for grades 6-12 apply to charter and traditional schools in different ways. The PACE Board voted last night to move grades 6-8 to Plan A conditionally, pending the outcome of state legislation currently under review. If permissions are not available by April 1st, grades 6-8 will remain in Plan B.
Please review pertinent changes that impact all students:
- K-8 students will return to Plan A learning, effective April 13th, following Spring Break.
- School will be in session from 8:15-3:10, a change back to traditional dismissal time.
- BeforeCare and AfterCare will be available. Details forthcoming.
- In-person learning will occur Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesdays will continue to be used to support remote learners and additional cleaning.
- According to the updated DHHS Toolkit, Plan A mandates minimal social distancing with no specific distance requirement, but classrooms will be distanced to the greatest extent possible.
- NC requires schools to continue to support students who opt to remain remote through the end of this current school year. As we adjust to Plan A, remote families can expect an adjustment to their live zoom schedule.
- Calendar adjustments: Due to the significant classroom preparations and vaccine clinics for staff, we have made two revisions to the calendar:
- Thursday, April 1 - 1pm dismissal
- Friday, April 2 - Teacher Workday
- Tuesday, April 13 - Plan A (K-8)
Safety continues to be a priority. We are following the research and guidance to implement layers of mitigation strategies to minimize risks:
- Requirement of face coverings for students and staff
- Air purifiers in each classroom
- Upgraded HVAC filtration and air circulation
- Increased use of outdoor spaces
- Limited cohort mixing and building visitors
- Frequent cleaning (including specialized services through 360 Clean)
You can expect more information in the coming weeks, which will offer details on schedules, drop off, and safety protocols. We are excited to be taking this step forward in our collective recovery and look forward to increased engagement and support for our students.
Update for 3/5/21
It is so good to see students in the building again! Of course we miss seeing the students who remain remote, but we understand that every family faces a unique set of circumstances and we support each family's decision.
The first weeks back have been wildly successful! Students and staff are diligently following safety protocols and are finding new, safe ways to connect and interact. We have been creative in re-inventing the way we “do” school and we have seen some beautiful examples of ArtSpace creativity rising to the challenges of COVID. Some examples are linked at the bottom of this letter for your perusal.
With the downward trend in COVID metrics and more vaccines being released each month, I am optimistic that we can continue with in-person learning through this spring. Some families have asked if there will be more changes to our calendar or our student schedules this year. At this time, we are reviewing state guidance, our class sizes, and our capacity to expand in safe ways.
ArtSpace continues to operate under the guidelines outlined in the Strong Schools NC Toolkit, which has recently been updated. We are directed to ensure that students in grades K-5 follow minimal social distancing; however, students in grades 6-8 remain at 6 feet. In light of these updates, we are re-examining classroom capacity. Remote families will receive a survey from their grade level director next week to indicate interest in on campus learning opportunities. For those who choose, we will continue to support remote students through the end of this school year.
Moving forward into the spring, we intend Wednesdays to remain asynchronous learning days to allow teachers the time they need to create quality instruction for our remote learners and allow necessary cleaning and sanitation school wide. The school day will continue to be 8:20-2:10 with drop off beginning at 8am. We are reviewing capacity in AfterCare.
And finally, I will leave you with some examples of student and staff creativity and perseverance.
Have a great weekend!
February 2, Reentry Update
In accordance with guidance from the state and in order to ensure a safe and efficient transition, ArtSpace will be reopening campus to in person learning on February 18th. We have made adjustments to the calendar to allow time for staff to prepare to welcome students back on campus.
Please see the new calendar here. This reflects a move of the required days in late February to earlier in the month to support our transition. This means school will be closed on Monday, February 15th. Tuesday-Wednesday (2/16-17) will be asynchronous remote learning days.
Students will return to in person instruction on the same days and cohorts as previously assigned on Thursday, 2/18. If you have requested a change to your child’s assignment, you will receive communication from the grade level director, Ms. Hollis or Ms. Lucy, with further details.
Lastly, as you may have seen, Governor Cooper and state educational leaders issued a joint statement today urging the opening of schools to in person instruction, sharing the growing body of research that schools are safe for on campus learning when mitigation strategies are followed. We will continue to follow the safety protocols and drop off/pick up schedule listed in the Family Reentry Guidebook. Please help us keep our community safe and in school by following the 3 W’s and sharing any contacts, symptoms, or COVID-19 questions with us
January 28th, 2021 Reentry Planning Survey
ArtSpace remains in remote learning status through February 12th. In order to determine appropriate and safe reentry dates, we are evaluating several variables. This includes:
- Local COVID-19 metrics - The County Alert System and NC DHHS Dashboard are two primary resources.
- Vaccine - The availability in our community at large and for our school staff specifically
- Staff capacity - This pertains to staff’s ability to manage the multiple demands of teaching in this environment and the number of staff impacted by quarantine and/or high risk status.
- Facility capacity - When considering social distancing and classroom transitions, the size of our classrooms is a factor that limits the number of students we can safely accommodate.
- Mitigation strategies - Our ability to consistently apply the proven mitigation strategies (masks, distancing, hygiene, screening) across grade levels and throughout the school day.
I share this with you so that when I say that we’re reviewing all the data and metrics, you know what we are specifically considering in this decision making. Again, we are prioritizing having students on campus and are working towards safe reentry for the benefit of all.
When ArtSpace does transition from fully remote to hybrid instruction, we plan for students to return to the same cohorts they were in before the holidays. This means if your child was in person (cohort A or B) or remote (cohort C), that they would return to the same group and schedule. We are still under the same state guidance that restricts the number of students we can safely serve.
At this point, we are asking you to complete this form if you are requesting a change from your previous assignments. IF you are requesting a change, please complete this form by Monday, February 1. We will consider any changes to in person instruction based on the availability of seats that keep us within the state's guidelines. If you do not plan to make adjustments, this survey is not required. Any family may provide comments or questions here.
ArtSpace will have an announcement regarding school status next week.
January 19, 2021
Dear ArtSpace families,
Buncombe County’s COVID-19 metrics remain in the “critical/red” tier as evaluated by NCDHHS in the county alert system, reflecting high numbers of new cases and percent positives. Community spread has been prevalent, with increasing numbers of our community being impacted. For these reasons, ArtSpace will continue with fully remote learning through February 12th.
These decisions have always been difficult and they remain taxing now. Some area schools have opted to remain remote for longer periods of time, and we understand that safe, conservative approach. However, ArtSpace made a commitment months ago to prioritize bringing students back on campus safely as soon as we can. That means we are in a constant cycle of review and analysis, and we will not let up.
We understand the frequent cycles of review makes planning hard for families. You may have already decided to opt for remote only instruction for the remainder of the school year and that is okay. When students do return to campus, we anticipate cohorts and assigned rosters will remain as they were before the holiday break until such time that we can increase in person student numbers safely. Over the next few weeks, we will reach out to you again with an opportunity to share your thoughts as we move forward.
The PACE Board will meet on February 2nd to review and discuss return to campus plans, slated for February 15th. We thank you, as always, for your partnership in this journey.
January 5, 2021
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
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
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 Reentry Family Guidebook (linked below). 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 (PDF below) 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
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 (PDF below). 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
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
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.
September 17, 2020
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
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
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.