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A Safe Feb. 15 Return to Learning Under 'Plan B'
A Safe Return to Learning Under 'Plan B'
Posted on 02/22/2021
Spirits were high during the week of Feb. 15, as students safely returned to in-person classroom learning under Plan B.BCS Communications

Spirits were high during the week of Feb. 15, as students safely returned to in-person classroom learning under Plan B. Teachers and students were reunited, and the familiar sights and sounds of learning once again filled schools across Buncombe County.

According to Plan B approved by the Buncombe County Board of Education (outlined in Return to Learn Update #11), students returned in reduced numbers to attend each week on either Monday and Tuesday, or Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday serving as a remote asynchronous learning day.

Below are several social media posts and photo galleries from around Buncombe County during this important week!

View this photo gallery on Facebook.

Like other schools across Buncombe County, the halls and classrooms of Charles T. Koontz Intermediate School were filled with learning. For some students, it was the first time they’d physically been in the school for many months. From each socially-distanced classroom to the gymnasium and the playground, students and teachers enjoyed seeing one another again in reduced numbers.

“We’re excited for all of this noise,” said Principal Reginald Bright with a smile. “The students are so excited to be here, and their teachers are, too.”

View this photo gallery on Facebook.

On a chilly Tuesday morning, Emma Elementary teachers and staff were ready as students arrived at their community school by bus and car.

“We are so excited to have our Emma Elementary leaders back with us in the building,” said Principal Carla Shipman. “They’re doing a great job following safety protocols, and we’re ready to get back into our normal school routine.”

View this photo gallery on Facebook.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” drifted down the hallway from the Enka High School band room on Monday as students practiced on their first in-person day of the semester. Physical distancing and brass bell covers helped keep the practice safe.

Students across the campus were excited to see their classmates and teachers and take advantage of the physical learning space. They checked out microscopes in science classrooms, played pickle ball in the gym, and used the “Zip, Zap, Zop” game to practice pace and focus in theater class.

“Enka High School is unbelievably excited for our students returning to the building,” said Principal Jeff Burleson. “Not having our students in the building has been difficult yet understandable considering our current environment. Having them back hopefully is the beginning of returning to a ‘normal’ educational environment in which we can best support all of our students and assure the world why we are truly 'Proud to be Jet!'”

View this photo gallery on Facebook.

Hominy Valley Elementary felt brighter than usual this week, as students got to see their teachers and learn together. In the kindergarten hall, teachers reintroduced themselves to their enthusiastic students. In the music room and gymnasium, kids engaged their brains and bodies with creativity and movement.

"We are so grateful to have our students back and they are excited to be here,” said Assistant Principal Cindy Newman. “Our building is full of energy as students and teachers return to familiar routines and engage in important learning. There are lots of smiles behind our masks this week!"

View this photo gallery on Facebook.

Joe P. Eblen Intermediate School students got back into the swing of in-person learning this week! On Monday, art teacher Spencer Cobb introduced herself and talked about the wonderful hands-on learning opportunities that await fifth- and sixth-graders. Music teacher Jason Minnix led a class through an engaging introduction song. STEM Lab teacher Georgina Ray demonstrated a catapult that fifth-grader Shelby Sitton built at home during remote learning.

“We’re excited to have everybody back and can’t wait to see all the good things in store for the rest of the school year,” said Principal Jeremy Stowe. “We’ve all missed our students, and we’re ready to make the most of in-person learning.”

View this photo gallery on Facebook.

Principal Deborah Devane said there’s a secret to seeing just how excited students are to return to North Buncombe Elementary School this week under Plan B.

“You can see those big smiles, even underneath their masks,” she said. “It’s in their eyes and in their expressions.”

The positive feelings were mutual for the teachers and staff who warmly welcomed students back to classrooms in reduced numbers. So far, the week has been full of hands-on exploration of subjects like math, reading, writing, art, music, physical education, Spanish, and more!

“It’s nice to have the noise and buzz of children in the classroom again,” said Devane.

View this photo gallery on Facebook.

Oakley Elementary School students dashed to class this morning with lots of enthusiasm! For students who were remote-only learners last semester, this was their first day back in the building in months. Students were eager to speak Spanish together in their immersion classes, play soccer in PE, and make origami in Art!

Principal Dana Haney says the teachers have missed the personal connection of having students learning in the classrooms with them. With safety protocols in place, she says her staff and students are ready to be back for in-person learning.

View this photo gallery on Facebook.

Weaverville Elementary School was once again filled with the sights and sounds of learning this week as students safely returned to classrooms in reduced numbers under Plan B.

“It’s wonderful to see our students again. They’ve grown so much since we saw them last,” said Principal Heidi Allison. “We’re just very excited to get to connect face to face again.”

View this photo gallery on Facebook.

As students returned to classrooms under Plan B this week at William W. Estes Elementary, Principal Paula Pinkerton noted the resilience and enthusiasm they displayed. Students remembered the routines and safety procedures discussed in the fall and were able to quickly get back to the business of learning!

“It’s just beautiful to see children grateful for the opportunity to come to school to learn,” said Dr. Pinkerton. “Everyone’s serious about their studies and there’s a new appreciation for what they have.”

Related: View our stories and galleries as teachers prepared to welcome students under Plan B.

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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