HES transitions to remote learning

Hildebran Elementary School transitions to remote learning due to COVID-19 cases
Posted on 12/09/2020

Morganton, NC – Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020

Burke County Public Schools was made aware on Tuesday of a cluster of at least five or more related positive COVID-19 cases at Hildebran Elementary School. As a result, Hildebran Elementary School will move to Plan C instruction through Monday, Dec. 21. All learning at Hildebran will transition from in-person to remote while the school building is closed. There will be no activity at the school at least for several days to ensure adequate time for the virus to dissipate from the air. Once that time period is up, the custodial team will move in to start the thorough sanitation process. Hildebran Elementary School classroom teachers are communicating with students and families and providing specific information to let them know what to expect while the school operates under Plan C. 


Hildebran Elementary School Principal Randy Sain notified parents Tuesday via the SchoolMessenger alert system of the positive cases. The health and safety of students and staff is Burke County Public Schools’ main concern right now. The school is working closely with the Burke County Health Department for guidance and to identify anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Just as with individual cases, if a child or staff member was identified as having had close contact and exposure, the school nurse notified the parents or staff member. Parents and staff who do not hear from the school nurse should know they are not considered to have had close contact. Parents who have questions about their child's health, can contact their physician or the Burke County Health Department Public Information Line at 828-764-9168. 


The Child Nutrition Department will continue to serve Hildebran Elementary students meals during remote learning. Free meals will be available for pick up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the East Burke Middle School bus parking lot on Thursday, Dec. 10 and again on Thursday, Dec. 17. Students do not have to be present to receive the meals. 


The temporary, short-term (two weeks or less) transition to Plan C for full remote learning for a Burke County Public Schools school, grade level, wing or department is determined on a case-by-case basis. The decision to move to Plan C is not taken lightly. The main reasons to move out of a building and to remote learning are for decontamination and contact tracing purposes. 


With each confirmed person with COVID-19 in a school building, the risks are assessed. The first step is contact tracing to determine exposures. If exposures are determined, the next step is to assess how many are placed in quarantine or isolation as a result of the exposure. The next step is to monitor for additional positive cases. 


People involved in the decision surrounding transitioning to Plan C include:

  • Superintendent
  • Curriculum Director
  • District Nurse
  • School Principal
  • School Nurse 
  • Health Department Director


They evaluate factors that include:

  • An identified cluster of five (5) or more related cases
  • Significant absenteeism of staff (is there adequate staffing available to maintain student supervision and safety)
  • Significant absenteeism of students
  • Substantial community spread

The goals are: 

  • Health and safety of students and staff first
  • Making the building closure as short as possible
  • Clear and frequent communication from teacher/principal to home/parent/student during remote learning


BCPS follows requirements and relies on guidance from the Burke County Health Department, StrongSchools NC Toolkit and the CDC.
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