At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Cullowhee Valley moves to remote-only instruction

Classes at Cullowhee Valley School will transition to remote-only instruction tomorrow due to a spike in COVID-19 cases among staff members. 

Remote-only instruction will continue at least through Friday, Jan. 22, when district and school administrators will convene to assess the situation and determine if it is prudent to reopen the school.


“We make decisions based on data,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton.  “I am in contact with the health department, area health providers, and our partners at WCU and SCC at least weekly.  That information is shared with the school board, and we move according to the data in the best interest of our students and staff.”

All individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 or had close contact with someone who tested positive are in quarantine and following guidance from health care professionals.


The district’s eight other schools will continue on their current schedule.  However, students who had close contact with individuals at Cullowhee Valley who tested positive have been notified and will quarantine and shift to remote instruction for at least seven days.


Free meals will be available in front of the school from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for anyone 18 or under while classes remain remote-only.  No sign-up is necessary.

Despite the surge in positive cases, Jackson County Public Schools continues to maintain a lower rate of infection than the surrounding area.
Assistant Superintendent Jacob Buchanan attributes the district’s success to their commitment in following CDC and NCDHHS guidelines.
 

“I can’t stress the importance of the three W’s enough,” Buchanan said.  “We are requiring masks, we encourage regular handwashing and we do our best to maintain social distance.  We firmly believe that our students are less likely to contract COVID-19 in our schools than they are in the community at large.”

Receive our FREE SMN Xtra newsletter

Go to top