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.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced an extension of his Executive Order requiring that physical school buildings remain closed through Friday, May 15, 2020.
Craven County Schools will continue to deliver remote learning for its students as well as continue meal delivery during this time.
“Our goal is to create a sense of normalcy for our students while ensuring all continue to be engaged with our educators and learning,” the school district announced in a news release. “We are so proud of the dedication of our school employees as they have been committed to creating remote learning opportunities quickly for their students.”
Teachers and school employees will continue working to fulfill this need for the community. A plan is being developed by district staff to expand the resources, digital and remote, offered during this time of closure. Additional information should be released soon.
Monday is Craven County Schools’ first day of remote learning.
Understandably there are a lot of questions as we transition to a new normal,” the school district reported in a news release on Monday. “We ask that our parents remember that our educators, support staff, and administrators are new to this work at this scale, so we are asking for continued patience. In particular, teachers are assigning work but they may not have provided due dates yet.
“We ask that all students and parents know that everything that is being assigned is not due in one day. We will pace ourselves and we will communicate that to our students and families. If needed, a remote learning tab has been created on each school’s website and the district website to provide additional information and support for students, parents, and staff.
“We understand this closure is challenging for our children and their families and it is hard on our teachers and school staff. However, there are creative and innovative solutions that our students and our staff are finding to learn and support one another during this time.
“We cannot wait to share these things with you in the coming days. We truly appreciate all of the support our schools have received. We continue to ask our families for patience as well as constructive insights as we move forward.”
Under the direction of Governor Cooper, Craven County Schools will be closed for all students starting Monday, March 16, for at least two weeks, through March 30.
District teachers and staff have been preparing distance learning plans for students. Additional information will be provided soon.
The State Board of Education and the State Superintendent will provide more information on Sunday afternoon about when this instruction can begin.
More information will also be coming for families who need access to devices and connectivity.
Monday, March 16, will be a teacher workday for all staff.
All schools will be open to allow students to retrieve personal school supplies/items, prescribed medications stored in the office, and the opportunity to check out books from the library.
Schools will be open on Monday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Call the school office directly if you need to make arrangements after hours to pick up belongings on Monday.
“We have been working with our staff to prepare for school closures and have been developing numerous resources for families,” Craven County Schools said in a release. “Resources and updates to our current operating status will continue to be posted on the Craven County Schools website and shared on social media and other outlets. All of our state and local officials have emphasized the unprecedented nature of this event. Our school leaders are doing all they can to support families both personally and academically. We are asking for patience as we deploy information and resources over the coming days.”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announces his executive order on Saturday.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order on Saturday closing K-12 public schools for at least two weeks and banning gatherings of 100 people or more.
Cooper made the announcements during a news conference on Saturday, March 14.
Cooper said the state issued guidance earlier in the week recommending against mass gatherings of 100 or more, but several venues continued with their events despite the guidance.
“This is a risk we cannot tolerate,” Cooper said. “No concert is worth the spread of this pandemic.”
Cooper said the order does not apply to restaurants, shopping centers, and similar venues. It does apply to concerts and other large gatherings of people in close quarters.
For school closings, Cooper said several school districts stopped holding on-campus classes on their own initiative, and many parents have been keeping their children home from school to avoid contracting the virus.
Craven County was not among them. Craven County officials said they were waiting for state guidance, instead.
“We need a statewide response, and statewide action,” Cooper said Saturday.
Cooper said he did not make the decision lightly, and said the closures will buy the state time while experts learn more about the virus.
Cooper said the state will seek ways to soften the burden of keeping children home from school that will be placed on families. Many students rely on schools for meals, while many parents work and will be faced with challenges caring for and supervising their children.
COVID-19 is a so-called novel, or new, coronavirus for which there is no cure and no specific treatment. Because it is a new virus, most people are not immune. It is highly contagious and is estimated to be 10 times more deadly than the flu.
The two weapons currently being deployed are early testing, which has been spotty at best, and preventing the spread of the disease to avoid overwhelming the available capacity of the medical system to handle the most severe cases.
North Carolina reports 23 cases of COVID-19 in 12 counties, including one each in Craven and Onslow counties. There are no cases of community spread of the disease in North Carolina.
Monday, March 16, will be a teacher workday to allow students to retrieve their materials from the schools. Schools will remain closed through March 30 at the earliest.
Meanwhile, educators will be working to figure out how to continue educating North Carolina’s K-12 students remotely for the next two weeks, or longer if the pandemic continues to increase.
Cooper said it is better to be careful now, rather than to have regrets if the state does not go far enough.
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.
Due to the most recent recommendation from the Governor, the following activities have been postponed until further notice to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus:
All In-County Field Trips
Elementary Battle of the Books- March 13, 2020
Kindergarten Ready, Set, Go Meetings -March 16th & March 24, 2020
Craven LIVE Recruitment Evenings- March 16th & March 17, 2020
Kindergarten Registration- March 17, 2020 (JT Barber Elementary) & April 2, 2020 (all other elementary schools)
All-County Honors Band Concert-March 26, 2020
All-County Honor Chorus Performance April 6, 2020
Spring Art Reception- April 7, 2020
All School-Based Assemblies & Concerts
Athletics-The N.C. High School Athletic Association will suspend all high school athletics statewide as concerns over the coronavirus grow. The suspension of athletics will be effective at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 13th and last through April 6, 2020. It includes all games, practices, workouts, and skill development sessions. In alignment with this decision, Craven County Schools will also cancel all middle school athletics following the same restrictions.
We recognize that these decisions to cancel or limit activities may be disappointing to some; however, our decisions are being made with the guidance of state officials, in an abundance of caution for our students and staff, and with the care and consideration of our community and neighbors in mind.
As indicated by our local, state, and national news, this is a rapidly changing situation. We want to ensure that our parents, employees and students are informed with accurate information.
The Twin Rivers YMCA is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone who enters our doors. There are growing concerns about the potential spread of the coronavirus in our area, and in an effort to keep you and your family healthy and prevent the spread of germs, we are modifying our programs & schedules.
In effect immediately, as of Friday, 3/13:
•Our Facility Hours will stay the same and Program Areas will remain open for use.
Includes the Gym, Outdoor Pool, Cardio Room, Free Weight Room, Resistance Weight Room, Track, and Racquetball Court. Minimum staffing may cause limited access to the pool area.
•All Classes are cancelled, and Child Watch & Rec Station are closed through Monday 3/30.
Includes Group Exercise, Aquatic Aerobics, Small Group Classes, Personal Training, Adult Swim Lessons, Group Swim Lessons & Private Swim Lessons.
•All Youth & Adult Sports, as well as STEM Night, are suspended through Monday 3/30.
Includes Basketball, Soccer, Flag Football, Swim Team, & our free STEM Night scheduled for 3/27.
•At the Y, everything we do is guided by our mission of strengthening communities, and we have an obligation to do all that we can to limit the spread of Coronavirus.
Due to a recent announcement by Craven County Schools and following the recommendations of public officials, Twin Rivers YMCA After School Care will not be offered until further notice.
We deeply appreciate your understanding as we do our best to navigate the challenging circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic.
We will reevaluate this situation on Monday, 3/30 and will inform our members as soon as we have an update. All updates will be sent via email.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please stay safe!