It’s an important time to remain vigilant

By Mark Jaben • Guest Columnist | Two big things are happening in Haywood County this week.

First, a tremendous outpouring of help and support from people coming here in the aftermath of the devastating flood. Already, though, one member of a group has developed COVID and is hospitalized. The first rule of incident management is don’t become part of the incident; don’t contribute to the disaster. The fact is if someone gets COVID and has to isolate, or has a close contact exposure and should quarantine, they cannot do the good work they came here to do. 

Sitting in the mess can be worth it

I’m not the traditional church-going type. “Christianity” is an antiquated, laden term of which I’m not a fan. My faith is unique, evolving. My God is changing and alive with the times. My Bible is a book of stories, metaphors and poetry. It is not a hard and fast guidepost.

Summer school aims to address learning loss

As much of Western North Carolina bounces back from the devastation of COVID-19 — lower case counts, rising tourism numbers , successful vaccination campaigns — schools in the region are looking toward a longer, more intensive summer school program to put its students back on track. 

Finally, back to school for all

I’ve missed chaotic mornings fighting for the bathroom, looking for shoes under beds, packing lunches, slinging bagels in the toaster and yelling for kids to get in the car. After a year of strangeness, all students are back in school, and it’s offering a thirst-quenching sense of normalcy. 

WNC schools to finish school year in person

North Carolina State legislators have voted to send more students back to in-person learning with the passage of Senate Bill 220. Titled “The Reopen Our Schools Act of 2021,” the bill will require districts to offer full-time, in-person learning for K-5 students, where previously school districts could choose what plans to offer K-5. It also gives districts the option to offer Plan A, fully in-person learning, or Plan B, a hybrid plan with remote and in-person learning, to students in grades 6-12. 

WNC schools already adhering to state recommendation

Last week, North Carolina officials recommended that all schools return to in-person learning as soon as possible. 

The new norm difficult for schools

When the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading in North Carolina in March of 2020, public schools were forced to close their doors. First for two weeks, then for the rest of the school year. During that time teachers and administration worked hard to develop best practices on the spot for virtual learning. 

School systems seeing more COVID-19 cases, clusters

Since public school systems have returned to in-person instruction, more COVID-19 cases are being reported in Western North Carolina. 

As school gets going, a lingering anxiety

Elementary schools will open their doors and welcome students back over the next few days, and middle and high schools are getting into the groove of remote and in-class learning. Planning by administrators and teachers has been underway for months. 

Haywood K-5 students will return to in-person learning

Elementary school students in Haywood County will return to school full-time beginning Oct. 5. 

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