Yancey Superintendent Weekly Update 10/2

Superintendent Weekly Update

from the desk of Kathy Amos

October 2, 2020

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I thank you for working extremely hard over the last several weeks as we prepare for our students return. I know that some of you still have concerns and I can assure you that we will all work together to keep everyone safe. Our work is important, however if you are sick please stay at home to recover and keep our colleagues safe. As we work our way through the pandemic day by day, we must all remember to wear our mask, stay socially distant, wash our hands and wipe surfaces often. I met with our school nurses this week and they reminded us to treat everyone in public as if they have the virus. A great reminder for us as we follow the guidance that is set forth by the NC Department of Health.
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As a fellow educator, I am like many of you and followed my higher calling in life. I love kids and want to make a difference in their lives and in my community. In the midst of this health crisis, we must keep the faith and hope alive. We can not lose sight of our purpose, to make a real difference in kids lives.
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Again, I appreciate the work you are doing. Thank you for working together, doing your best, being patient with each other and extending grace to one another. Please enjoy the kids next week because they are very excited about seeing their teachers and friends.
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In October of 1985, President Ronald Reagan declared October Learning Disability Awareness Month. School year 2018-19, 33% of students in the United States were identified as having a Specific Learning Disability.

As a school system, we want to acknowledge all people with disabilities: our students, staff, teachers, and administrators that may have overcome or learned to cope with various disabilities. We also want to educate people on disabilities and how people learn to live with and overcome difficulties in their lives.

Students with disabilities work hard every day to learn and grow academically. Many grow up to become scholars, athletes, poets, musicians, and artists. They help make our schools productive and meaningful learning environments. Additionally, the teachers and related service providers that work so hard with these students to help them access their education need to be remembered and congratulated on their tireless efforts. Due to these individuals going the extra mile and the students perseverance to succeed, our students with disabilities can and will attain whatever they aspire to be.

Disability Resources

LD online

Learning Disabilities Association of America

Council fo rExceptional Children

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From the US Department of Education

The 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) launched on October 1. New and returning students who plan to attend college between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible. To assist students and parents in the process, the Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) has been sharing tips @FAFSA, and new blogs note “7 Things You Need Before You Fill Out the 2021-22 FAFSA Form” and “8 Steps to Filling Out the FAFSA Form.”

Students and parents can complete the form online at FAFSA.gov on a desktop or mobile device, and, this year, enhanced help topics provide even more guidance through the form. As a result of user feedback, many financial help topics feature images of the form with relevant line numbers visually highlighted. Also, skip-logic functionality means applicants see only the questions that pertain to them. And, by the end of the year, FSA will launch an enhanced myStudentAid mobile application. It will have an entirely new look and feel and additional features (press release).

In related news, the Department released the latest federal student loan cohort default rate, which decreased (from 10.1% to 9.7%) for students who entered repayment between fiscal years 2016 and 2017. This new cohort default rate represents the lowest national rate since the three-year rate was first released in 2012. Schools with high default rates may lose their eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs.

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On September 4, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law the Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0, which was passed by the General Assembly. The law includes the Extra Credit Grant program to be administered by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Most North Carolina families with children are eligible for a $335 coronavirus relief payment to help with virtual schooling and childcare costs.

The $335 payment is for individuals with a dependent child who was 16 or younger at the end of 2019.

If you filed a 2019 North Carolina individual income tax return reporting a qualifying child, you will get the payment automatically by December 15.

Individuals with a qualifying child who did not file a 2019 state return because their gross income for 2019 did not exceed the state’s filing requirements for their filing status (generally $10,000 per year if single and $20,000 per year if married) may still be eligible for the $335 payment, but they must apply.

Applications are due by October 15, 2020.

Help more North Carolinians receive $335 in coronavirus relief by sharing the word about the October 15th application deadline.

Go the Department of Revenue website for details or to apply: https://www.ncdor.gov/extracredit

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Are YOU Ready for 2021 Open Enrollment?

2021 Open Enrollment is October 15-31, 2020. Here’s what you need to know to make the right decisions in October to save you money throughout 2021.

All active and non-Medicare members will be automatically enrolled in the 70/30 Plan for the 2021 benefit year. Members who wish to enroll in the 80/20 Plan or who wish to reduce their monthly premium in either the 80/20 Plan or the 70/30 Plan by completing the tobacco attestation will need to take action during Open Enrollment.

Please note that retirees continue to have a $0 premium on the 70/30 Plan.

Here’s some important news for 2021:

  • No premium increases for the 3rd year in a row!
  • Members who select a Clear Pricing Project Provider as their Primary Care Provider will enjoy a $0 copay!
  • Reduced copays for members who visit a Clear Pricing Project Specialist!
  • Preferred and non-preferred insulin will have a $0 copay for a 30-day supply!
  • Preventive Services remain free – no copay or deductible – on the 80/20 and 70/30 plans!

Check out these savings that members will enjoy in 2021:

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Tobacco Users: Get a Head Start on Your Premium Credit for 2021!

(Active and Non-Medicare Members)

Tobacco users who want to earn their 2021 premium credit don’t need to wait for Open Enrollment. Tobacco users can complete a tobacco cessation counseling session at a CVS MinuteClinic or Primary Care Provider’s (PCP) office for FREE to earn a lower premium for 2021!

Tobacco users have until November 30, 2020, to take action. (If you combine your tobacco cessation visit with another service, there may be a copay.) For non-Medicare retirees, this activity is only applicable if you want to enroll in the 80/20 Plan.

Before your cessation counseling visit, visit the Plan’s website and print off instructions for your provider to ensure your visit is billed correctly and is FREE. This document is not required, but helpful for your provider. You will need to verify if your PCP offers tobacco cessation services as some providers do not offer this service.

If you are NOT a tobacco user, you will simply need to attest to that during the online enrollment process during Open Enrollment.

If you need additional help to quit using tobacco, the State Health Plan offers a variety of tobacco cessation resources to help you quit smoking, chewing tobacco, using snuff, or even e-cigarettes (vaping). Get started today on your journey to quitting tobacco!