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Information and updates about the coronavirus


■ Visit these websites for information about the coronavirus

▪ Gaston County Government/Health and Human Services: www.gastongov.com/coronavirus
▪ N.C. Department of Health and Human Services: www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina
▪ Center for Disease Control (CDC): www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Information Hotline for Gaston County

If you have questions about the coronavirus, you may call the information hotline for Gaston County: (704) 862-5303.  Click here for more information about the hotline.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, May 22

Additional Information about Graduation: There was confusion in the stage two “reopening” guidelines that said educational institutions were exempt from restrictions related to large gatherings.  This led some people to believe that we could conduct graduation in a traditional format.

Today, we received clarification from the Governor’s Office.  The exemption for educational institutions is for the purpose of planning for summer learning and the 2020-2021 school year and not ceremonies like high school graduation.

The stage two “reopening” guidelines limit gatherings to no more than 10 people at the same time indoors and no more than 25 people at the same time outdoors.  These guidelines prohibit schools from conducting graduation ceremonies that involve a large gathering of people.

Click here for more information about high school graduation.



■ Update for Parents and Employees, May 20

Monday, May 25 is Memorial Day, which is a holiday for students and employees.  We will not serve “Grab and Go” meals on Monday because of the holiday.  The program will resume on Tuesday, May 26 at our 20 locations.  Students/parents may pick up a meal between 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.  Click here for a list of locations and more information about our “Grab and Go” meal program.

As we near the end of the school year (our last day of school is Tuesday, June 9), be sure to review our grading guidelines if you have not done so.  Click here for information.

While we are not conducting in-person registration for kindergarten and pre-kindergarten at this time, you can still register on our website.  Click here for information.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, May 19

Our high schools have announced plans for graduation to recognize and honor the seniors in the Class of 2020.  Click here for information. 


■ Update for Parents and Employees, May 7

Earlier this week, the North Carolina General Assembly and Governor Cooper approved legislation related to the coronavirus – the legislation includes new laws that affect public education.  As a result, the first day of school for the 2020-2021 academic year has been changed to Monday, August 17.  This is one week earlier than our original start date.  There are other changes to the school calendar.  Our calendar committee will be reviewing the changes, developing a revised calendar, and presenting it to the Board of Education for approval.  Please note that the legislation also includes changes to the Gaston Early College High School calendar, and a revised calendar for the Early College will be available soon.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, April 24

Schools closed for rest of 2019-2020 academic year: Governor Cooper has announced that all schools in North Carolina will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year because of ongoing concerns related to the coronavirus.  This includes Gaston County.  Even though our school buildings are closed for in-person instruction, we will continue to provide teaching and learning opportunities for students through our “Gaston At Home” remote learning program until June 9, the last day of school.  Click here for information about "Gaston At Home."

“Grab and Go” Meal Program: We will continue to offer “grab and go” meals on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Meals will be available for pickup from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at our 20 locations.  A meal for Friday will be provided to students on Thursday.  Click here for information about "Grab and Go."

Grading Information: The State Board of Education has approved grading guidelines for school districts to use for the 2019-2020 academic year.  Click here to review the guidelines.

Limited Access to Buildings: Our schools and the central office are open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m.  Anyone (including employees, students, parents, and the general public) needing to pick up something from a school or the central office should do so during these hours.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, April 17

Beginning the week of April 20, we will offer “grab and go” meals on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Meals will be available for pickup from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at our 20 locations.  A meal for Friday will be provided to students on Thursday.  Click here for a list of locations.

Remote learning for students through our “Gaston At Home” program will resume on Monday, April 20.  



■ Update for Parents and Employees, April 7

SPRING BREAK: We will follow our school calendar for spring break.  Friday, April 10 is a state holiday for all employees, and April 13-17 is spring break.  During spring break, teachers will not offer remote learning. Remote learning through our “Gaston At Home” program will resume on Monday, April 20.  Our school offices will be closed during spring break, April 10-17.

“GRAB AND GO” MEAL PROGRAM: We want to share the spring break schedule for our “grab and go” meal program.  Meals will not be provided on Friday, April 10, which is a holiday for employees. Students will receive a meal for Friday on Thursday, April 9.  During spring break week (April 13-17), meals will be available at all 20 locations from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.  Click here for a list of locations.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, April 1

LIMITED ACCESS FOR SCHOOL BUILDINGS: Beginning April 1, our schools and the central office will be open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m.  Anyone (including employees, students, parents, and the general public) needing to pick up something from a school or the central office should do so during these hours.  The limited access is necessary because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The "grab and go" meal program continues weekdays from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at 20 locations.  Click here for more information and a list of the locations.

INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYEES: Because of the statewide stay-at-home order, employees are encouraged to stay home from work and perform their job duties through telework.  This practice is in place to reduce the number of people in our buildings and therefore adhere to social distancing recommendations.  Employees needed in person to help maintain limited operations of the school system will be contacted by a supervisor about their work schedule.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, March 29

Because of the statewide stay-at-home order, employees are encouraged to stay home from work, especially employees who can perform their job duties through telework.  This practice is in place to reduce the number of people in our buildings and therefore adhere to social distancing recommendations.  Employees needed in person to help maintain limited operations of the school system will be contacted by a supervisor about their work schedule.  The State Board of Education has approved a state of emergency leave act, and our Human Resources staff will provide more information by e-mail about how the act applies to our employees.

"Grab and go" meals will be provided for students on Monday from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon at 20 locations.  Click here for more information and a list of the locations.

Beginning Monday, our instructional focus shifts from the classroom to the living room through the "Gaston At Home" remote learning program for students.  Click here for information.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, March 26

Friday, March 27 has been designated as an optional workday for all full-time and part-time employees, including teacher assistants, cafeteria staff, custodians, and bus drivers.

"Grab and go" meals will be provided for students on Friday from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon at 20 locations.  Click here for more information and a list of the locations.

As a reminder, to help “break down the language barrier” for our parents who speak Spanish only, we have a teacher from our English as a Second Language (ESL) program who will take questions by telephone during regular business hours.  Please call (704) 866-6073 anytime between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. weekdays.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, March 25

Thursday, March 26 has been designated as an optional workday for all full-time and part-time employees, including teacher assistants, cafeteria staff, custodians, and bus drivers.

"Grab and go" meals will be provided for students on Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon at 20 locations.  Click here for more information and a list of the locations.

To help “break down the language barrier” for our parents who speak Spanish only, we have a teacher from our English as a Second Language (ESL) program who will take questions by telephone during regular business hours.  Please call (704) 866-6073 anytime between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. weekdays.

Attention, students/parents who are trying to download the iREADY app to their device.  Please note that you must use a desktop, laptop, or Chromebook computer or an iPad (version iOS 10 or higher).  When downloading to an iPad, you should use the “iREADY for Students” application.  Unfortunately, iREADY will not work on a smartphone or tablet such as a Kindle.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, March 24

Wednesday, March 25 has been designated as an optional workday for all full-time and part-time employees, including teacher assistants, cafeteria staff, custodians, and bus drivers.

Beginning Wednesday, March 25, we will add four locations to our "grab and go" meal program: Brookside Elementary, H.H. Beam Elementary, Tryon Elementary, and Holbrook Middle School.  Meals for students can be picked up between 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon.  Click here for more information and a complete list of meal locations.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, March 23

Governor Cooper has announced that all public schools in North Carolina will remain closed for students until May 15 because of concerns related to the coronavirus.  This includes Gaston County.  Please know that we will share additional information with you when it is made available by the Department of Public Instruction and other state-level agencies.

Tuesday, March 24 has been designated as an optional workday for all full-time and part-time employees, including teacher assistants, cafeteria staff, custodians, and bus drivers.

Beginning Wednesday, March 25, we will add four locations to our "grab and go" meal program: Brookside Elementary, H.H. Beam Elementary, Tryon Elementary, and Holbrook Middle School.  Meals for students can be picked up between 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, March 22

Monday, March 23 has been designated as an optional workday for all full-time and part-time employees, including teacher assistants, cafeteria staff, custodians, and bus drivers.

"Grab and go" meals will be provided for students on Monday from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon at 16 locations.  Click here for more information and a list of the locations.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, March 19

Friday, March 20 has been designated as an optional workday for all full-time and part-time employees, including teacher assistants, cafeteria staff, custodians, and bus drivers.

"Grab and go" meals will be provided for students on Friday from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon at 16 locations.  Click here for more information and a list of the locations.

Click here to watch a video message from Superintendent Booker about the challenging times we are facing because of the coronavirus.

Parents are encouraged to stop by their child's school on Friday to pick up a "Gaston At Home" instructional packet or parents may click here to download the materials from our website.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, March 18

Thursday, March 19 has been designated as an optional workday for all full-time and part-time employees, including teacher assistants, cafeteria staff, and bus drivers.

"Grab and go" meals will be provided for students on Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon at 16 locations.  Click here for more information and a list of the locations.  


■ Update for Parents and Employees, March 17

Wednesday, March 18 has been designated as an optional workday for all full-time and part-time employees, including teacher assistants, cafeteria staff, and bus drivers.

Each weekday from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon, Gaston County Schools is providing “grab and go” meals for students at 16 locations. Five more locations have been added: Chapel Grove Elementary, Mount Holly Middle, Ashbrook High School, Hunter Huss High School, and the T. Jeffers Community Center in Gastonia. This service offers a nutritious meal for children while schools are closed because of concerns related to the coronavirus.  Click here for more information and a complete list of locations.

Beginning Wednesday, instructional materials will be available for our students.  Parents may stop by their child’s school to pick up a printed copy or download the materials from the Gaston County Schools website.  The materials are intended to keep a focus on academics while our schools are closed.  Parents should contact their child’s school if they have questions.  Click here for more information.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, March 16

Gaston County Schools will provide “grab and go” meals for students, beginning Tuesday, March 17. This service offers a nutritious meal for children while schools are closed because of concerns related to the coronavirus.  Click here for more information.

Tuesday, March 17 has been designated as an optional workday for all full-time and part-time employees, including teacher assistants, cafeteria staff, and bus drivers.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, March 15

Monday, March 16 has been designated as an optional teacher workday for employees.

Parents may stop by their child's school on Monday to pick up personal belongings, medication, etc. that their child may need during the time that our schools are closed.

In the next few days, we will share details about a meal program for students as well as information about academics.


■ Update for Parents and Employees, March 14

Governor Cooper has announced that all public schools in North Carolina will be closed for the next two weeks (March 16-27) for students because of concerns related to the coronavirus.  This includes Gaston County. 

Information will be provided via e-mail for employees about their work schedule.  More information will be provided for students, parents, and employees as it becomes available.


■ 
Update for Parents and Employees, March 12

The N.C. High School Athletic Association is suspending all high school athletics (games, practices, workouts, etc.) beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 13 and continuing through Monday, April 6.  We are applying this to our middle school athletics programs as well.

All out-of-county and out-of-state field trips for students and professional development programs/workshops for employees have been suspended until further notice.

Our schools will provide information to parents about field trip refunds once the details are worked out.  We ask parents to be patient as schools work through the process.

As a reminder, the webpage, www.gastongov.com/coronavirus, is serving as Gaston County’s resource for information and updates about the coronavirus.


■ Letter from Superintendent Booker, March 11

Dear Parents and Employees:

We would like to provide you with an update as we continue to monitor the effects of the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Governor Cooper declared a state of emergency for North Carolina.  The declaration allows for the activation of the state’s emergency operations center to coordinate efforts among local and state agencies to address the coronavirus.

Even though North Carolina is operating under a state of emergency, state officials have recommended that schools remain open.  This recommendation is based on guidance that children are at a lower risk of serious illness than older adults and adults who have a pre-existing health condition.  In Gaston County, we still believe the risk of coronavirus remains low.

In response to the Governor’s declaration, Gaston County Schools (like other school districts across the state) has canceled out-of-state and overnight school field trips as well as international travel by school groups until further notice.  Our schools are reviewing travel agreements to determine if any of the money paid for field trips can be refunded. 

For now, students/staff will be able to travel to local (in-county) events and activities as scheduled.  Travel to in-state academic-related and extracurricular activities will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Middle school and high school athletic teams will be allowed to travel to in-county and in-state games/competitions.  We will rely on the N.C. High School Athletic Association to provide information and guidance should there be any changes to high school games/competitions. 

Above all else, our commitment is to the safety of everyone associated with our schools.  The cancellation of out-of-state and international school-related trips and the review of in-state travel by school groups are measures that we believe are in the best interest of our students and employees.

School officials are staying in contact with representatives from the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services and CaroMont Health and other local and state health leaders to receive updates and recommendations.  We will contact parents and employees anytime we have new information for you.  As a reminder, you may visit www.gastongov.com/coronavirus, which is serving as our community’s source for information and updates.

Clearly, this is a challenging time for our state, country, and world.  Thank you for your continued support of our schools, and we appreciate your understanding as we navigate this period of uncertainty together.


■ Letter from Superintendent Booker, March 4

Dear Parents and Employees:

In recent weeks, much information (and misinformation) has been shared about the coronavirus.

On Monday, representatives from Gaston County Schools were invited to join officials from the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services, CaroMont Health, and other health and public service agencies, including law enforcement and emergency management, for a discussion about the coronavirus and what steps would be taken should an outbreak ever occur in Gaston County.

Everyone involved in the meeting agreed that it is good to be proactive and prepared without inciting fear and panic. It is important for citizens to understand that only one case of the coronavirus has been reported in North Carolina (Wake County/Raleigh area). No cases have been reported in South Carolina.

Here in Gaston County, there is a webpage (www.gastongov.com/coronavirus) that is serving as our community’s source for information with regular updates. We hope you will take time to visit the webpage if you have questions about the coronavirus. The school district will remain in contact with our health department, CaroMont Health, and other local agencies as well as the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and work with them should an outbreak happen here.

Actually, the seasonal flu is more of a concern right now. As you know, it is the time of year when the cold, flu, and stomach bug are common, and that is why we encourage you to review the following “germ buster” tips:

■ Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If you cannot wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Be sure to wash your hands before touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.

■ Make sure to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or cough/sneeze into the bend of your arm if you do not have a tissue. After you cough or sneeze, throw the tissue away and wash or sanitize your hands.

■ If you are sick, consider staying at home. Parents should keep their child home from school if a fever is present. The child may return to school after 24 hours of no longer experiencing a fever (without using medicine that lowers fever).

■ Use soap and water or an approved cleaning product to disinfect surface areas, including handrails, door knobs, and light switches, on a regular basis.

Our schools are following the tips listed above to prevent the spread of germs associated with the cold and seasonal flu. We hope you will do your part by keeping the tips in mind.

Please know that we appreciate your continued support of our schools. If you have questions, feel free to contact your child’s teacher, the principal, or the school nurse.