By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Cherokee Central Schools (CCS) and all North Carolina public school buildings will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year following announcements on the afternoon of Friday, April 24. Students will continue with remote learning for the remainder of the academic year.
Gov. Roy Cooper said on Friday, “School buildings will stay closed to students for this school year, but school isn’t over. The decision to finish the year by remote learning was not made lightly, but it is the right thing to do to protect our students, teachers, and communities. This is a difficult time for many children and parents, and I am grateful for all of the educators, administrators, support staff, and parents who have gone the extra mile to keep children learning.”
Yona Wade, CCS director of community affairs, related in a statement on Friday to parents, faculty, and staff, “With the closure of North Carolina schools for the remainder of the year by Gov. Roy Cooper, Cherokee Central Schools will be following the recommendations of the governor and closing for the remainder of the school year. Our administration has been working on plans in the event our system were to close for the remainder of the year. This plan will address grade promotions and how we grade the work sent home with students.”
The statement continued, “This situation is rapidly changing, and we ask that you please be patient as Cherokee Central Schools works through the complexities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of CCS for the remainder of the year.”
Eric Davis, N.C. State Board of Education chairman, said on Friday, “While school buildings will continue to be used strategically to address student needs, such as some schools continuing to serve as emergency child care sites for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 response in coordination with DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services), school employees will support students and provide supplemental remote learning opportunities until the scheduled end of each district’s respective 2019-20 school year.”
He added, “In light of today’s announcement, we remain forward-focused. State and district leaders are already discussing options and planning for what re-entry in the 2020-21 school year can look like and what resources will be necessary to support our students’ academic and social, emotional, and health needs.”
Friday’s announcement also affects sports statewide. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) announced that all winter sports championships and spring sports are cancelled.
“Today’s decision is difficult for the NCHSAA Board of Directors and staff,” Que Tucker, NCHSAA commissioner, said in a statement. “We empathize with the thousands of student-athletes, especially graduating seniors, coaching staffs, officials, and family members affected by this decision. However, this decision reflects a commitment to keeping our student-athletes, officials, and member-schools’ staffs and their communities safe, while following the guidelines provided by the governor and his team along with the Department of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education.”
Tucker went on to state, “We had maintained hope for a conclusion to our state basketball championships and a modified spring sports season to help return a sense of normalcy to our communities. Now, as we continue to deal with this difficult time, we must do so by applying the lessons that education-based athletics teaches us: cooperation, patience, sacrifice, responsibility, perseverance, and resilience. Together, we will be able to put a ‘W’ in the win column.”