This afternoon Gov. Roy Cooper announced that the closure of public school facilities as instructional settings for K-12 students will be extended through May 15.
While school buildings are closed for instruction, school employees will continue to expand efforts to ensure that vulnerable children and their families have access to nutritious food during this emergency. Additionally, in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, many North Carolina public school buildings will serve as emergency child care sites to support those on the frontlines of COVID-19 responses, including health care workers and first responders.
In the wake of the Governor’s announcement, public schools in traditional districts and charter schools will, as possible, implement remote learning plans they have developed for students’ academic achievement as well as social and emotional well-being.
“Superintendents across this state are acutely aware of how important it will be to continue to provide child nutrition services over the extended closure,” said Patrick Miller, the 2019-20 State Superintendent of the Year. “In some districts, child care services may be provided for medical staff and other essential staff on the front lines, such as law enforcement. We will also work diligently to remain connected with our students during this time. Our teachers are prepared to implement remote learning plans; however, these will look different from district to district. One thing I can assure you is that our teachers will continue to work hard and we will all get better at this as we go.”
Mariah Morris, the 2019-20 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, agrees. “Teachers are the first-responders for our students,” she said. “We understand the importance of the teacher-student relationship during these uncertain times. Beyond academic learning, teachers are able to provide social and emotional support for our students across the state that is so desperately needed. We, teachers, are leaders on the ground-level, and our children are relying on us to pave the way during these unprecedented times with positivity, innovation, and grace.”
State leaders will be providing further direction and guidance to local school leaders about how to deliver remote instruction and support for students during these unprecedented times. State education leaders recognize that remote instruction will look different in communities across the state as school districts and charter schools refine and implement their plans. The Digital Teaching and Learning Division of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction have curated a wealth of remote learning resources and information on their website. Inequities in local resources and digital access further complicate matters. The State Board of Education, Superintendent, and Department of Public Instruction will take all possible steps to mitigate these inequities and help local schools implement best practices for remote learning. Previous guidance regarding personnel-related matters remains in effect.
Earlier today, the State Board of Education held an emergency meeting and unanimously agreed to approve the recommendation from Superintendent Johnson and the Department of Public Instruction to seek a waiver of federal testing requirements. This afternoon, the U.S. Department of Education notified DPI that the federal waiver was approved. With respect to state testing requirements, the State Board of Education and Superintendent Johnson are already in close contact with General Assembly members about the waivers necessary to address COVID-19 for this school year.
As we look ahead, we want to resume traditional in-school instruction this school year on May 18. We will reopen schools if our public health experts say that we can.
Parents and students know the value of direct instructional time and the value of face-to-face interactions between teachers and students. After the closure, we look forward to returning to our schools, finishing this school year, and preparing for the next school term.
“While educators and families are eager to return to school, we understand how important it is for us to follow the guidance of the Governor’s office and experts from the CDC and DHHS,” said Matt Bristow-Smith, 2019-20 NC Principal of the Year. “Educators are 100% committed to the safety, health, and well-being of our scholars. We will continue to implement remote learning plans to support our students academically, socially, and emotionally as we get through this together.”
We are particularly aware of how important a return to regular school will be for our seniors, the Class of 2020. We are in direct contact with our partners in higher education and understand our seniors have unique needs at this time in preparation for further education and the workforce. We will be providing additional guidance related to the specific issues related to our senior class.
We know that public schools are the backbones of our communities. As we face new realities, we will all need to adjust. There will be hundreds of decisions to make as we redefine school this year and beyond. State leaders will continue to collaborate with our partners in the General Assembly and local leaders to address the policy and legal issues that will inevitably arise from this pandemic.
Despite the present uncertainties, our core principle of putting children and school communities first remains unwavering. It will guide us moving forward. The State Board of Education, Superintendent, and Department of Public Instruction thank Governor Cooper for his leadership in this challenging time. We extend gratitude to our colleagues at the Department of Health and Human Services for providing the best-available data to inform decision-making during this public health emergency. The decision to close school buildings as instructional settings through May 15 is the prudent one. We will continue to make decisions about school based on public health requirements. We also thank our health care workers who are vital to these efforts, as well as our first responders, who are doing so much to respond to this crisis.
New Bern Historical Society President, Joe Hunt; Scholarship Committee Chair, Mary Parrish; and 2019 Marks Scholar Kimberly Thi Tran.
The New Bern Historical Society is still accepting applications for its Harriet Marks Scholarship. The deadline to apply is March 27.
This scholarship is awarded to a senior graduating from New Bern High School for the purpose of obtaining higher education at an accredited college, university, or institution of higher learning.
Renewable for three succeeding years as long as academic standards are maintained, the scholarship provides financial assistance to a deserving senior based on equal weight of scholarship and financial need.
The Marks Scholarship was established by a trust estate created in 1968 under the terms of the will of Miss Harriet Marks as a memorial to the O. Marks family (for which the downtown building is named). Information and application form is available here or by calling the New Bern Historical Society office at 252-638-8558. Deadline to apply is March 27, 2020.
Historical Society Executive Director Mickey Miller said, “This scholarship can make all the difference to a young student who needs financial help to go to college. We are very proud of the academic records of our scholarship awardees over the years, and we look forward to selecting another worthy student who will maintain this tradition.”
Scholarship applications (available on both the New Bern High School and New Bern Historical Society websites) must be returned to the New Bern Historical Society by Friday, March 27, 2020. For further information contact the New Bern Historical Society office at 638-8558.
The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education. Offices are located in the historic Attmore-Oliver House at 511 Broad Street in New Bern. For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go here or Facebook page.
Following an emergency meeting of the State Board of Education today, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper announced that all public schools in North Carolina will be closed for two weeks due to the growing COVID-19 crisis.￼
This is a developing story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.￼
The first case of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Craven County, the Craven County Health Department announced Saturday morning.
The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 is an adult male who returned from international travel. He became symptomatic and had a negative flu test.
He was tested for COVID-19 on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, and confirmation of positive COVID-19 test results were received at the Craven County Health Department on Saturday, March 14, 2020, from the North Carolina State Lab.
The individual has been in isolation at home since he was tested on Wednesday. Craven County Health Department’s Communicable Disease staff is working to conduct contact tracing to make sure everyone who came into close contact with this individual is quarantined. Close contact is anyone who was within six feet of the individual for 10 minutes or more.
“We believe this was brought to Craven County from abroad. We do not believe this was a community acquired transmission,” said Scott Harrelson, Craven County health director.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website lists the Craven County case as a presumptive positive and not a confirmed positive.
Presumptive Positive is a positive COVID-19 test that still must be confirmed by another testing laboratory. NCDHHS is responding to presumptive positive cases by following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of infection.
Confirmed Positive is a confirmed positive case, meaning that the test has been confirmed by the CDC lab.
Craven County Schools was made aware of the case Saturday morning.
“At this time, we know of no connection of this person to our school system,” school officials said in a news release. “
Craven County Health Department’s Communicable Disease staff is working to conduct contact tracing to make sure everyone who came into close contact with this individual is quarantined.
Close contact is anyone who was within six feet of the individual for 10 minutes or more. Craven County Schools has been working for weeks on plans in the event of school closures. As soon as we have additional information, we will release it.”
The Epiphany School for Global Studies, the largest private school in Craven County, has suspended on-campus courses effective Monday, and will be holding classes online starting Wednesday for the next two weeks at least.
Unofficial reports of a COVID-19 case have been spreading throughout New Bern for several days.
CarolinaEast Medical Center denied that there were any cases, suspected or otherwise, at the hospital.
There are no approved treatments and no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. However, there are known methods to reduce and slow the spread of infection.
Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes.
Community-based interventions can also help slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes measures collectively known as “social distancing.”
Social distancing measures aim to reduce the frequency of contact and increase physical distance between persons, thereby reducing the risks of person-to-person transmission.
These measures are most effective when implemented early in an epidemic.
North Carolina is at a critical inflection point where we may have the opportunity to slow the spread of this epidemic by taking proactive steps now.
The Craven County COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Team is following the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) recommended mitigation measures.
NC DHHS is making the following recommendations to reduce the spread of infection while North Carolina and Craven County are still in an early stage in order to protect lives and avoid strain on our health care system. NC DHHS is making these recommendations for the next 30 days and will re-assess at that point.
The following recommendations pertain to persons statewide.
1. SYMPTOMATIC PERSONS
If you need medical care and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect you might have COVID-19, call ahead and tell your health care provider you have or may have COVID-19. This will allow them to take steps to keep other people from getting exposed.
NC DHHS recommends that persons experiencing fever and cough should stay at home and not go out until their symptoms have completely resolved.
2. HIGH RISK PERSONS WITHOUT SYMPTOMS
NC DHHS recommends that people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should stay at home to the extent possible to decrease the chance of infection. People at high risk include people:
Over 65 years of age,
or with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes,
or with weakened immune systems.
3. CONGREGATE LIVING FACILITIES
NC DHHS recommends that all facilities that serve as residential establishments for high risk persons described above should restrict visitors.
Exceptions should include end of life care or other emergent situations determined by the facility to necessitate a visit. If visitation is allowed, the visitor should be screened and restricted if they have a respiratory illness or potential exposure to COVID-19.
Facilities are encouraged to implement social distancing measures and perform temperature and respiratory symptom screening of residents and staff. These establishments include settings such as nursing homes, independent and assisted living facilities, correction facilities, and facilities that care for medically vulnerable children.
We do not recommend pre-emptive school closure at this time but do recommend that schools and childcare centers cancel or reduce large events and gatherings (e.g., assemblies) and field trips, limit inter-school interactions, and consider distance or e-learning in some settings.
Students at high risk should implement individual plans for distance or e-learning. School dismissals may be necessary when staff or student absenteeism impacts the ability to remain open. Short-term closures may also be necessary to facilitate public health investigation and/or cleaning if a case is diagnosed in a student or staff member.
NC DHHS recommends that employers and employees use teleworking technologies to the greatest extent possible, stagger work schedules, and consider canceling non-essential travel. Workplaces should hold larger meetings virtually, to the extent possible.
Additionally, employers should arrange the workspace to optimize distance between employees, ideally at least six feet apart. Employers should urge high risk employees to stay home and urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.
6. MASS GATHERINGS, COMMUNITY, AND SOCIAL EVENTS
NC DHHS recommends that organizers of events that draw more than 100 people should cancel, postpone, modify these events or offer online streaming services. These events include large gatherings where people are in close contact (less than 6 feet), for example concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith-based events and other large gatherings.
7. MASS TRANSIT
Mass transit operators should maximize opportunities for cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. People should avoid using use mass transit (e.g. buses, trains) while sick.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency related to COVID-19 on March 10, 2020 which activates the State Emergency Operations Center. This declaration makes it easier for local agencies to coordinate a response to COVID-19.
Craven County Emergency Management is maintaining situational awareness by closely monitoring the updated guidelines from the North Carolina Emergency Management State Emergency Operations Center efforts through the Web EOC system and the North Carolina Division of Public Health.
Craven County Emergency Management is actively participating in implementing the new emergency medical services protocols that went into effect last week.
Craven County Emergency Management has also implemented Emergency Medical Dispatch protocols to screen 911 medical calls to aid emergency medical services response and they are participating in all conference calls with State of North Carolina Emergency Management.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new virus first identified in Wuhan, China. Common symptoms are similar to the flu, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
Coronaviruses like COVID-19 are most often spread from person to person through the air by coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact (including touching or shaking hands), or through touching your nose, mouth, or eyes before washing your hands. The best way to reduce your risk of becoming infected with a respiratory virus, such as COVID-19, is to practice good hygiene:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
People who are sick should always cover their coughs and sneezes using a tissue or the crook of their elbow; wash your hands after using a tissue to wipe your nose or mouth.
People who are sick should stay home from work or school until they are well.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your unwashed hands.
Craven County citizens are encouraged to use reputable sources of information to learn more about coronavirus.
Reputable sources of information include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NC Division of Public Health websites and the NC Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus call line 1-866-462-3821.
Residents are also encouraged to register to receive notifications via the Craven County website and to register to receive emergency notifications via text, email and phone calls through the CodeRed Emergency Notification System.
We have been carefully watching the development of COVID-19 over the last few weeks. Our Crisis Response Team and Board of Trustees have actively monitored the evolving situation, gathered information and consulted expert advice. We have come to the conclusion that, for the safety and health of our students, staff and community, we must exercise an abundance of caution and move to a virtual learning experience.
What does that mean for Epiphany? We are suspending in-person instruction from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27. We will notify you by the 27th if we need to extend the suspension of in-person instruction. You will receive an email from your child’s divisional director on Tuesday, March 17. In this letter you will find instructions and information regarding what virtual learning will look like for your student. Virtual learning will begin on Wednesday, March, 18.
If your child does not have a device or internet access, please contact your child’s divisional director immediately to work out an individualized plan.
We advised Trent Campus students to take materials home with them that will be necessary for virtual learning. Henderson Campus teachers packed student bags with necessary items. If your student needs additional materials, both campuses will be open Monday and Tuesday from 8am-3pm.
We appreciate your support and understanding as we move through this virtual learning experience.
Retired Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Bob Verell makes his way back from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall after playing taps Nov. 2, 2017, at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Tupelo, Mississippi. Verell, a Vietnam War veteran, served as an infantry platoon sergeant in Vietnam. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross)
Called “The Wall That Heals,” the replica was unveiled in Washing on Veterans Day 1996 by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
It is designed to travel to communities throughout the nation. The exhibit features a three-quarter scale replica of the Wall, and a mobile Education Center. Since its dedication, the Wall has been displayed at almost 600 communities throughout the nation.
Block Party to make it all happen—Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020 in Vanceboro
The Craven Resource Council was forged with four primary goals in mind
Building relationships between community residents and partner stakeholders.
Raising awareness about community resources.
Identifying and addressing resource gaps
Maximizing the reach of partner agencies.
The council is the result of a collaborative relationship between Habitat for Humanity of Craven County, Twin Rivers Opportunity, and Vision Forward and has since expanded to include other non-profit groups, City and County agencies, and other organizations.
The Craven Resource Council will host their second community focused event on Saturday, Feb. 29, in Vanceboro, at the large field adjacent to Kite’s Grocery Store. The block party will be held from 1-4 p.m. and will have activities for children and parents, games and prizes, music, as well as snacks and refreshments.
Antoinette Boskey, Neighborhood Revitalization director at Habitat for Humanity of Craven County, said, “This is going to be a great opportunity for us to learn more about this area of county directly from residents whom we welcome to be a part of helping us fill these gaps in their own community. All the partner agencies are excited about the opportunity to connect with the community and learn from them how we can truly reach each of our missions.”
If you are an agency interested in joining this exciting collaborative group or have any questions about this upcoming event, please contact Antoinette Boskey at 252-633-9599 or via email at email@example.com.
New Bern received a mediocre score for family friendliness in North Carolina from WalletHub, a website that produces data-driven articles ranking various subjects in various categories.
In ranking North Carolina cities for “2019’s Best Places to Raise a Family in North Carolina,” New Bern ranked 56th out of 87 cities. The top-ranked city was Cary, while coming in at 87th was Laurinburg.
In Eastern North Carolina, Havelock — you read that right — was the highest rated city in the survey, coming in at 35th. Other Eastern NC cities were Wilmington (44th), Greenville (53rd), Jacksonville (59th), Wilson (70th), Elizabeth City (75th), Tarboro (77th), Goldsboro (81st), and Kinston (84th).
Taking just Eastern North Carolina cities into account, then, New Bern ranked fourth, just behind Greenville and ahead of Jacksonville.
The rankings took into consideration 10 metrics, of which New Bern did better than average in just three: violent-crime rate per capita, unemployment rate, and playgrounds per capita.
New Bern ranked low in several categories, including percentage of families with children under age 17, median family income, and high school graduation rate. It rated near the bottom — 72nd — in housing affordability.
New Bern appears at the top of many lists, from Top Charming Small Towns to Top Small Retirement Towns, but these are typically niche categories. Raising a family is about as fundamental to a city’s purpose as you can get, and New Bern’s ranking, indeed rankings of all Eastern North Carolina cities, should raise some red flags and help policymakers in making decisions.
The data used in these rankings is entirely publicly available, and is the same information that companies look at when determining expansion and relocations.
True, New Bern is constantly looking for ways to up its game. But take one example, the planned Martin-Marietta Park. New Bern already ranks high for playgrounds per capita (24th in the state). Martin-Marietta Park won’t move the bar one iota in rankings such as these, even if it’s a park that is physically larger than most of Craven County’s smaller cities.
The focus should be where New Bern and Craven County are average or weak — median family income, quality of school system, high school graduation rate, poverty rate, and perhaps foremost, housing affordability.
Here are specific rankings for New Bern:
Raising a Family in New Bern (1=Best; 43=Avg.; 87=Worst)
64th– % of Families with Children Aged 0 to 17
57th– Median Family Income (adjusted for cost of living)
The popular Harry Goodman Battlefield Adventure Day for families isSaturday, March 23, at the New Bern Battlefield Park.
A day full of learning activities, period games and living history,it is held annually at the Park, which has been extensively upgraded by the New Bern Historical Society. This year the event is open to guests of all ages, with special activities for children 6-12 years old. Check-inbegins at 11:30 a.m.with activitiesfrom noon to 4 p.m.
Guests will be greeted by re-enactorsfrom the 5th and 7th North Carolina Regiments.The event kicks off with a commissary lunch for all guests, provided by Moore’s Bar-B-Que.
There will be Civil War era games, crafts, and hands-on displays for the entire family. Children will participate in practice drills and Civil War period activities and crafts. Historical Society battlefield guides will provide an informative and entertaining walking tour of the battlefield.
The day’s activities will conclude with an exciting artillery live fire demonstration by McCullough Living History.
Cost is $10 for the first family member, plus $5 for each additional adult or child, with a $20 maximum for a family.Special price for active duty military and families qualifying for free/reduced school lunch program. For more information or to register: New Bern Historical Society,252-638-8558 and www.newbernhistorical.org
At the end of the day they will take part in the American Battlefield Trust’s Park Day, an opportunity for the public to lend a hand at battlefields and parks across the country. Participants will help rake out the redans. Park Day will begin after the Adventure Day activities are completeat 4 p.m.
T-shirts will be given to the first 45 participants.
New Bern Battlefield Park is located off U.S. 70 at the entrance to the Taberna subdivision at 300 Battlefield Trail. This program is supported through the generosity of the family of Harry K. Goodman, who was key to the preservation and restoration of the Battlefield Park.
Colorfest will hold its annual event, Night Out With The Arts (NOWTA), on May 10 at the New Bern Golf & Country Club.
Attendees will be introduced to the Colorfest Team, sponsors, and learn more about the things that Colorfest aspires to do in the community. The event will also feature live music by Songstress Rasheeda Waddell and Band, comedy, art exhibition from local artist, live painting and an art auction. All proceeds raised go towards paints, supplies, art scholarships and to the community Colorfest serves. Dinner will also be served.
Those who wish to become a sponsor can call 404-725-3053 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by March 20.
Night Out With The Arts
Date: May 10, 2019
Time: Doors open at 7 p.m. Show is 8-11 p.m.
Location: New Bern Golf & Country Club, 4301 Country Club Road, New Bern
Cost: $30 General Admission (include entertainment, meal and one complementary raffle ticket)
On the web: www.colorfestinc.org
Since 2011, founder, Derrick Bryant has come back to his hometown and helped beautify the area by painting murals downtown on Queen Street in 2011 and 2016. He’s developed an event/program for youth to tackle problems and have fun at the same time.
Colorfest is an event for youth of all ages to come out and take part in helping to beautify the city of New Bern. Future Colorfest projects are being planned to reach the communities in Eastern North Carolina and Georgia.
A main focus of the Colorfest Team is to break chains in impoverished communities. It sees the arts as a way to give young artist positive ways to channel their creative energy and talents.
“For many years we have seen the decline of funding in schools for art based programs, causing children to lose access to curriculum that would otherwise enhance and nurture the creative process,” Bryant said in a news release.
Colorfest Inc. active sponsors 2018-19 include Walmart, American Airlines, Kiss 102, Baker’s Kitchen, Bern Investment Group,The Tiny Tornado, and B.L.U.U.