Thu, Jan 21, 12:05 PM (22 hours ago)
I will cut to the chase and let you know that McDowell County Schools will continue with remote learning for all students for at least one more week. The new target return date will now be Monday, February 1. The community COVID positivity rate remains well above pre holiday season levels and the last couple of days brought a spike in the number of staff who are now in quarantine, including me. Please assist by doing what you can to maintain safe distances, wash hands frequently, and wear a face covering when out in public. While I know it is hard to refrain from gathering together when you are working at school, it is imperative that we do what we can to keep as many colleagues healthy and out of isolation. One potential exposure can cause multiple absences, making it difficult to maintain adequate staffing to allow students to be in school for face to face instruction. I get it...it is hard! I have been isolated in my basement and away from my family since Saturday due to an exposure that likely took place at my grandmother's funeral. However, I am trying to do my part to slow this thing down and just be a good neighbor, even though I have no symptoms. Let's all do our part and control what we can control so that we can get students back where they belong which is in school.
While we fully expect all 14 schools to welcome students back for in person learning on Monday, February 1; the quarantine status of the staff will be the determining factor. I want you to be aware that we may be forced to keep some schools remote if there is not adequate staff available to operate safely. Closing individual schools as needed, rather than the whole district, will allow us to have as many students in person as possible.
We will continue to monitor both the community and MCS data over the coming week in order to make the best decision on getting students back face to face as soon as we can. Look for another update by next Thursday for a final decision on returning students to campus where we want and need them to be.
Thank you for all you are doing for students, MCS, and the community. Better days are ahead, so hang in there.
Mark R. Garrett
McDowell County Schools
334 South Main Street
Marion, NC 28752
Phone: (828) 652-4535
Fax: (828) 659-2238