2020/21 Weather Memo

Inclement Weather Memo
Posted on 11/17/2020
BCS Communications

The winter season is almost upon us, and this year, snow days will look much different for Buncombe County Schools. In the past, an inclement weather day meant that students stayed home and did not attend school. That lost learning day was made up later in the year.

This year most inclement weather days will be remote days, just like our schedule on Wednesdays. Our group A, B, and C students will have school work pre-assigned to them so their learning can continue. So, when inclement weather impacts our area, the school district will decide whether the day will be an optional teacher workday/remote learning day OR an annual leave day.

• If the day is an annual leave day, staff will not report to work and students will not be expected to participate in remote learning.
• If the day is an optional teacher workday, students will be expected to participate in remote learning independently at their own pace.
• If significant disruptions prevent students from completing assignments that day, they will have 5 days to make up the work.
• This plan will ensure we are able to deliver the required and much needed hours of instruction this year and reduce the need to add school days to the end of the year.

Specific curriculum guidance is at the end of this memo.

As this will be a new procedure, it’s more important than ever that your correct contact information is updated in PowerSchool. Also, you’re invited to download the BCS app and agree to push notifications. Our app is the fastest way to communicate weather and safety information.

We are committed to making a snow day call as early as possible- we understand the disruptions that inclement weather causes our families. As you know, the weather in the mountains is not always easy to predict and plan for. Our county is divided into 6 districts and spans over 600 square miles. We must take into consideration conditions across the county when making these difficult decisions.

Thank you for your continued patience and grace as we continue to navigate this strange school year together!

*The students who are in the BC Virtual Academy will not modify their schedules due to inclement weather.

More important details are below:

Information regarding school closings is available through multiple sources. These include:

• The BCS app, which is available from the Android or Apple store for push notifications;
• Local media outlets (television and radio);
• The school district website (buncombeschools.org);
• The BCS weather information hotline (English): 828-255-5939;
• The BCS weather information hotline (Spanish): 828-255-5948;
• Social media (i.e. FacebookTwitter, and Instagram);

Employees who have recently changed phone numbers, please visit buncombeschools.org/change and follow the steps in updating your information. After one week, text the letter Y to 67587 from your registered cell phone to enable district text messages.

There are a variety of announcements that may be made due to inclement weather delays and cancellations. These include:

DELAYED OPENING:
Most school delays will be for two (2) hours. Employees should report to work at the normal time if they are able to travel safely. If unable to report to work at their normal time, employees must communicate with their principal/supervisor. Where appropriate, time missed may be made up at a time agreed upon by the principal/supervisor and employee. Please remember that non-licensed/classified employees are only paid for the time actually worked on days when there is a delayed opening.

If there is a delay, the remote students will also begin their day on the same delay as their in-person classmates.

EARLY DISMISSAL:
In the event that closings occur once the school day has begun, efforts will be made to announce the dismissal in terms of how many hours schools will dismiss early. For example, “BCS will dismiss 2 hours early.” This will allow for staggered bus dismissal times.

DISTRICT CLOSINGS:
The A.C. Reynolds and T.C. Roberson districts open and close simultaneously due to combined attendance at Cane Creek Middle School (CCMS).

The following alternative schools will align with their respective districts regarding openings and closings:

If a school district is closed, it will be closed to all students who reside in that district, including those commuting to Community High School (CHS), Progressive Education Program (PEP), Nesbitt Discovery Academy, and therapeutic classrooms at Woodfin, Owen Middle School, and CHS.

Specific to Early/Middle College, students will not report to school if either their home school or A.B. Technical Community College are closed.

• Community High School/PASS and Owen Middle Therapeutic Classroom (Owen)
• Oasis Program @ Woodfin (Erwin)
• Progressive Education Program (Roberson)
• Buncombe County Early and Middle Colleges (AB-Tech Community College)
• Nesbitt Discovery Academy (Erwin)

The Buncombe County School System has devised a plan to open and close schools on a district-by-district basis when circumstances warrant such a decision. If more than two of the six districts are closed, the entire school system will close.

OPTIONAL TEACHER WORKDAY:
Employees have the option to take leave by logging their absence in Aesop when accrued leave is available instead of reporting to work. Employees are responsible for notifying their principal/supervisor and posting remote-learning assignments for their students by 10 a.m.

If employees do not have accrued annual leave and are unable to report to work due to unsafe travel conditions, employees may make up the day missed on a date mutually agreed upon by the employee and the principal/supervisor. The employee is responsible for informing the principal/supervisor of both the inability to report to work and the request for a makeup day.

Instructional assistants will continue working 203 days this year and will be paid accordingly.

Employees who report to work are subject to the procedures above for DELAYED OPENINGS.

ANNUAL LEAVE:
All employees, except school administrators, who do not work an 11- or 12-month schedule are required to take annual leave on an announced annual leave day. (Employees required to take an annual leave day include 10-month teachers, clerical assistants, instructional assistants, bus drivers, custodians, school nutrition staff, and transportation safety assistants). School administrators, 11-month, and 12-month employees may opt to take an annual leave day if accrued leave is available.

MAKE-UP DAYS:
By turning inclement weather days into instructional days when possible, we hope to reduce the need for makeup days. However, if days need to be made up, we may extend the school year or schedule Saturday school. Revised calendars will be posted on the Buncombe County Schools website.

Again, the safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. Should you have any questions, please contact your immediate supervisor.

Guidance for Teachers on OTWD/Remote Learning Day Due to Inclement Weather

Posting Assignments

All students K-13 will be assigned remote learning through their Learning Management System (LMS).

Asynchronous assignments must be posted to the student LMS by 10 a.m. on the optional teacher workday.

*If a student cannot access the LMS remotely, teachers can either download content to the device prior to the OTWD or provide work packets in advance. If this is not possible, the student can complete the work at a later date.

Student Work Completion

Students will be given up to five (5) days to complete the assignments for attendance purposes.

Attendance
Student attendance will be based on work completion.

Teacher Preparation
Create plans ahead of time that can quickly be adapted to meet current curricular needs. Plan for the potential of several consecutive remote learning days.

Use this day to solidify and deepen previous learning rather than introducing new content.

Consider the use of choice boards with “must do” and “can do” activities.

General Guidelines
Assignments must include:
BCS Instructional Framework: Include opportunities for students to engage in thinking, speaking, listening, reading, writing, and moving.

High Impact Practices
CASEL’s 3 Signature SEL Practices: Welcoming inclusion, engaging activities and optimistic closure
*Keep the expectations on this day similar to those on other asynchronous days.