ASHEVILLE, NC (WSPA) – Asheville City Schools officials said they would be extending remote learning for all students in grades pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade through March 16.

According to a news release, a tentative date of March 17 has been set for the school system’s large-scale, gradual transition from Plan C to Plan B for pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade students.

School system leaders said that March 17 date is subject to change based on COVID-19 cases in the Asheville area, as well as across the state.

A return date for secondary students will be announced at a later date.

Truly, we applaud our educators and families for facing the many challenges at-home learning has brought upon our district. We know communities have been built over the computer, and both the quality and content of remote instruction has continued to increase.  In addition to your outstanding efforts, we think this can be partially credited to the district’s cautious approach vs. flip-flopping between remote and in-person instruction.  

At the same time, we know and understand this is not the ideal situation.  This tough decision means our students will be learning remotely for over a year.  However, as we continue to receive important guidance from state and local health officials as well as hear from staff, we believe it is the right one. In fact, just last week, a survey was sent to all staff members in collaboration with the Asheville City Association of Educators.  Citing high transmission rates and limited access to vaccines, 85% of those who responded said they do NOT believe it is safe for students to return for face to face learning at this time.

– Asheville City Schools officials

According to the release, system officials have recommended that staff members continue to work from home.

“Our top priority remains keeping our students and staff members safe,” according to the release. “Therefore, please stay home as much as possible and work directly with your principal or supervisor should your lesson plans or job duties require you to report in person.”

The school system said only essential workers will be required to report to their assigned location. Essential workers include custodians, maintenance staff, child nutrition staff, school social workers and bus drivers delivering meals at food distribution sites, as well as any other staff members needed to keep operations going.

For tech support, student will continue to use the same channels that have been in place, including the Student Tech Support Google Form.

Through the end of this week, if a student needs to swap out a broke Chromebook or iPad, replace a power cord or receive a hotspot, they can go to the district’s central office, located at 85 Mountain Street on:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday and Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Starting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, this tech support process will move to the school level.

According to the release, the School Nutrition Department will continue to provide free grab-and-go meals for students 18 years old and under at specific schools and at schedule community-based food distribution sites. To find a list of locations and times for food distribution, click here.

Asheville City School officials said the North Carolina High School Athletics Association has not issued any new guidance restricting activity and middle and high school athletics will continue as scheduled, while following NCHSAA and CDC guidelines.