HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (August 9, 2021) – The school board voted Monday afternoon to overturn its August 2 decisions that had made face coverings optional effective August 23, and to provide virtual learning options based on students’ grade level.
Face Coverings Required in School Facilities
Following the Henderson County Board of Public Education’s decision this afternoon, all students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear face coverings indoors at all school facilities when students are scheduled for instruction, except for those with legal exemptions already established by the NCDHHS SafeSchoolsNC Toolkit.
The board also voted to provide an exemption to student athletes while participating in indoor athletics. Moving forward, the board plans to revisit the issue of mandatory face coverings at each school board meeting, based on updated numbers of school-affected positives, quarantines, and staffing.
As directed by the school board last week, district administrators reported current school-affected positive case and quarantine numbers. As of Monday afternoon, 19 school-affected positive cases had been reported, and 44 students at Hendersonville and Bruce Drysdale elementaries had been quarantined due to school affected positives.
Virtual Learning Option Suspended
Families choosing a virtual option for their children had been asked to commit to a full semester by 5 p.m. today, to provide HCPS with accurate enrollment numbers for these new virtual-only classrooms and to be staffed accordingly. As of Monday afternoon, only 3 staff members had applied to teach virtual-only classrooms, whereas 380 students had chosen a fully virtual option instead of in-person learning.
Superintendent Dr. John Bryant indicated that the new virtual learning options introduced to families in the last week had been launched in response to the board’s decision to make face coverings optional. Given this and the inability to adequately staff new virtual classrooms, the board voted to suspend the virtual learning options at this time.
Instructional “Return to Learn” plans and school system operations will be evaluated and refined based on local health data as district administrators continuously monitor community health trends. Any additional changes will be communicated to HCPS families via SwiftK12 emails and phone calls.