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Newton-Conover City Schools Coronavirus Update March 13, 2020

Newton-Conover City Schools is continuing to monitor information regarding Coronavirus through information provided by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Catawba County Health Department and Emergency Management, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other state health agencies. These partnerships are assisting in the proactive planning for the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and visitors to our campuses. 

What we know at this point is that the number of reported cases of Coronavirus in North Carolina is low but has grown over the past several days. Through multiple conference calls, online webinars, and meetings involving both local and state-level leadership, N-CCS has developed our approach to serving our students during this unprecedented time. The below directives/guidance reflect the current status in our school system as of Friday, March 13, 2020. As this is a fluid situation, there will be more updates as new information and directives are received from federal and state sources. 

Facts and Figures: 

COVID-19: U.S. at a Glance* (data is fluid and ever-changing)

  • Total cases: 1,215
  • Total deaths: 36
  • Jurisdictions reporting cases: 43 (42 states and District of Columbia)
  • Mortality Rate in Perspective: SARS: 9.6%; MERS: 34%; COVID19: 3.4%
  • North Carolina Coronavirus Count: 14 (Presumptive Positive), 1 (Positive)

Athletics/Extra-Curricular Activities:

On Thursday afternoon, Newton-Conover High School was informed by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) that the State Championship Basketball game that our Lady Red Devils were going to participate in was being postponed indefinitely. This is very disappointing news for a season that has been nothing short of magical for our Lady Red Devils Basketball Team. We could not be more proud of these young ladies and how they represented our communities, school system, N-CHS, and themselves. No specific guidance or timeline has been given regarding a potential makeup date.

Additionally, the NCHSAA suspended all athletics for middle and high school students beginning Friday, March 13, 2020 through Monday, April 6, 2020. This suspension includes all workouts, skill development sessions, practices, and games/contests. As updated information is made available to our school system, that information will be shared accordingly. 

In similar fashion, all extracurricular activities and community events held on our school campuses have been suspended until further notice (likely until at least April 6, 2020). Governor Cooper’s guidance advises this approach as the recommended one to take relative to non-essential activities. 

School Field Trips/Related Travel:

Until further notice, Newton-Conover City Schools has proactively suspended all out-of-county travel for students. As we receive updated guidance from the Governor’s office and the other sources noted earlier in this memo, this suspension will be subject to revision. School personnel will contact the various out-of-county venues and (as applicable) travel agencies in an effort to seek refunds for these cancelled trips. Relative to travel, refund decisions are at the discretion of travel agencies and venues. As is possible, school personnel may choose to reschedule trips as the threat of the virus subsides in the future. 

Professional Development Travel: 

Until further notice, staff out-of-county travel for non-required workshops/professional development activities is suspended. Relative to in-district trainings, N-CCS will follow Governor Cooper’s guidance of keeping group numbers below 100 and, when practical, offer online meeting options instead. 

Preventive Measures: 

All staff, students, and visitors to our buildings are encouraged to do the following:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly using soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue into the trash, and wash your hands.
  • Remain home if you have a temperature of 100.4 or greater, and remain home until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medications.
  • At home and in our schools, use the appropriate EPA-registered disinfectants on surfaces that come in frequent contact with others, such as doorknobs, table tops, electronics, light switches 

How Can We All Help the Situation:

  • Misinformation is rampant.  Before accepting what you may read or see on social media or other online sources, check for facts.  Not everything online is true. There are many unreliable sources out there. 
    • A relevant example of misinformation involves an inaccurate rumor that our school released early on Thursday (3/12) and is Closed for students on Friday (3/13) and Monday (3/16) due to the Coronavirus. In actuality, these days were placed into the 2019-2020 school calendar over a year ago. 
  • Please refer to our N-CCS website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed for the latest updates from our school district. (You can also access the public resources below that will always provide factual and updated information.)
  • Remind yourself that the number of confirmed cases in the United States and in North Carolina are low. 
  • Communicate with your children in a manner that focuses on: variables under our control, personal hygiene and safe public practices, positive attitude toward the situation, a factual understanding provided by credible sources.
  • Do Not Isolate Yourself socially!! Maintain social networks (even if virtually) to stay connected to friends and loved ones to provide mutual support.
  • As difficult as it is, exercise patience through what will likely be a long and frustrating process.
  • Coronavirus Resources: 

Please know that Newton-Conover City Schools will continuously monitor the Coronavirus situation and will consider the safety and welfare of its students and staff in any measures that need to be taken.  We will continue to communicate in a timely fashion to all stakeholders via our webpage, our social media sites, and phone calls to parents/guardians. Our goal is to keep our schools open and in a normal functioning capacity until guidance is received that we need to operate in a different fashion. Thank you for your patience and support.

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