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State Superintendent Tours BCS School
State Superintendent Tours BCS School
Posted on 07/20/2020
A collage showing State Superintendent Mark Johnson, teachers, and staff during the tour.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson toured West Buncombe Elementary School (WBES) on Monday to get a firsthand look at how Buncombe County Schools (BCS) is leading the way for safe in-person instruction.

During his first school tour of the 2020-21 school year, Mr. Johnson saw small classes who played and learned together while covering their faces, staying physically distant, and frequently washing their hands as part of the BCS Summer JumpStart Program. Mr. Johnson toured the school with BCS Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin, BCS Associate Superintendent Susanne Swanger, WBES Principal Brian Chandler, and BCS Director of Elementary and Intermediate Education Jennifer Reed.

“I was so impressed by the work I saw here today,” Mr. Johnson said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but educators and school leaders are working so hard to provide a safe, nurturing environment that was fully on display here today.”

JumpStart, which began on Wednesday, is an innovative, in-person summer learning program meant to help kids get ready for the new school year after the disruptions caused by last semester’s COVID-19 closures. Safety protocols are in place during the 10-day program, including physical distancing (with helpful markings on the floor), a nine-person limit in each classroom, individual (non-shared) classroom supplies, and a temperature check and face covering requirement for everyone entering the building.

JumpStart offers families a choice of in-person or remote-only instruction. These choices will continue during the fall semester. BCS will adhere to Plan B to begin our school year. Plan B includes a capacity limit in school buildings and on buses to ensure physical distancing and a hybrid or blended instruction model that includes remote learning. All families, K-12, may opt for remote-only, at-home learning by simply emailing their principal.

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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