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JEFFERSON — Ashe County Students returned for a very different school year on Aug. 17, due to COVID-19. For the past two weeks the school system has operated under Plan B, which is a hybrid consisting of two days each week of in-person instruction and three days of remote instruction.

ACS also has students enrolled in a completely virtual option, called Ashe Online.

Under Plan B, K-12 students report to school in two groups. Group A is students with last names beginning with A-K and Group B is students with last names beginning with L-Z.

Group A students report to their respective schools on Mondays and Tuesdays for in-person instruction while Group B students attend on Thursdays and Fridays. On the three days each week that students do not report to school facilities, they participate in remote instruction.

For the 2020-21 school year, ACS implemented a 1:1 student device program. This is an initiative to immerse students into a technology-rich instructional environment to ensure graduates will be prepared for the workplace and life after school.

All students, from third grade to seniors, were assigned a Chromebook computer to use both at home and at school for the entire school year after filling out necessary paperwork.

Superintendent Dr. Eisa Cox provided some feedback on how the school year is going so far.

According to Cox, ACS is having a successful start to the 2020-21 school year with teaching and learning being completed at high levels.

“I have been excited to see the level of work in a lot of our classrooms,” Cox said.

According to Cox, K-2 students have been utilizing a new program the school system purchased call “Seesaw.” Cox said through use of this program, students have been able to manipulate the computer on their own. First grade students are crafting and reading their own sentences, as well as drawing pictures to go along with them.

“It is fun to see kids and what they can do and how they have adapted so far,” Cox said.

According to Cox, it has not taken long for students and teachers to adjust and all students enrolled in either Plan B or Ashe Online are excited to be back.

“Our kids were happy to be back in school, we have heard a lot of laughter and we have had a lot of excitement from students to be back and able to see their teachers and their friends,” Cox said.

“Things are working for us so far and we are very pleased,” Cox added.

At the next Board of Education, the school system hopes to share some of the student work that has been completed thus far.

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