New Tool to Assist with COVID-19 Information in Asheville City and Buncombe County Schools
As schools in Buncombe County are working through in-person and virtual learning during COVID-19, both school systems, along with Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) and Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) are partnering to provide additional information and resources for students, families, and staff.
Starting Thursday, November 5th, a new online COVID-19 report will be provided for Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools and any other school in Buncombe County that would like to participate in this project. Buncombe County HHS is assisting with building the report and MAHEC School Nurses will provide and update the data in partnership with the school systems. The report will show new and active COVID-19 cases among students and staff who are learning and working in-person.
The COVID-19 school report can be accessed on at the link here, on the Buncombe County Schools page (ReturnToLearn.BuncombeSchools.org) and Asheville City Schools website (https://www.ashevillecityschools.net/returntolearn).
If there is a cluster (5 or more cases that are epidemiologically linked) in the school setting, the schools will work with Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) to notify staff and school communities using all available communication channels. School-based clusters are publicly reported by local health departments to NCDHHS and clusters are reported on the NCDHHS dashboard.
To further address questions, there will be a repository of answers to frequently asked questions as they emerge to help the public and staff better understand and navigate the data, contact tracing, school-related concerns, and resources for families.
The FAQ can be found here.
The role of Buncombe County Public Health in COVID-19 has always been contact tracing and working with individual cases and their close contacts to ensure quarantine and testing protocols are followed. “Public health performs contact tracing and is deeply involved in the personal communication with those who have a diagnosis of positive case of COVID-19 and their close contacts. We are happy to support our school systems as they provide information to families and staff and we see this as a positive step,” said Stacie Saunders, Buncombe County Public Health Director. “With cold and flu season coming in on top of COVID-19, we want people to be vigilant. Stay home if you are sick and keep your child home if they are sick. Even with face coverings, we must continue to keep social distance from others and reduce contact with others as much as possible. We must be vigilant in school and outside of school to protect our students, staff, and teachers. It’s not time to relax our protective measures. It is time to step up our efforts heading into colder weather.”