folk school blog
March 21, 2020
The Folk School has received many questions from our community and media regarding possible exposure to COVID-19 at the school, specifically relating to a contra and square dance on March 10. All public health questions should be directed to Cherokee County Department of Public Health at 828-837-7486.
Approximately 90 students and community members attended an introductory contra and square dance on Tuesday, March 10, from 7-8 p.m. As of March 10, there were no federal, state, or health department recommendations or bans for limiting the number of attendees for public events. (On March 13, the state of N.C. recommended that event size be limited to 100 attendees or less. On March 14, the state of N.C. banned event sizes of 100 or more.)
On March 13, the Folk School suspended all activities including events, dances, and classes through April 18. As of today, March 21, we have suspended all activities until further notice.
The Cherokee County Health Department has requested that attendees at the March 10 dance contact them directly at 828-837-7486. The Folk School has been working with the department to identify and contact dance participants.
The Folk School is in the process of contacting all students and instructors who attended classes the week of March 8-14, to inform them of the positive COVID-19 test result for the dance attendee (who was not a student).
For updates regarding confirmed cases in Cherokee County, visit Cherokee County Health Department's Facebook page. For Clay County updates, visit Clay County Health Department's Facebook page.
Folk School facilities are closed to all visitors, but the main office can be reached by phone at 828-837-2775 or 800-365-5724, or by email email@example.com. The Folk School is operating with a limited number of essential staff working remotely or independently on campus.
March 20, 2020
Over the past several weeks, the Folk School staff has been committed to providing a safe experience for all students, instructors, staff, and visitors. We have followed, and even exceeded recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). We instituted extra sanitizing, education, preventative measures, and we were one of the first craft schools to cancel classes and public events. Unfortunately, a visitor to Brasstown, who attended a contra dance on March 10, 2020, at the Folk School, has tested positive for COVID-19.
The spread of the coronavirus is a new reality for our community and the world. The announcement of the confirmed COVID-19 case has obviously elevated fears and emotions within the community. This is an understandable response, as we are all experiencing an uncharted situation. As a community, we must remain strong and work together to support our families, friends, and neighbors.
How do we move forward? First, I want to wish a speedy recovery to the infected individual in Cherokee County. For our local, regional, and national community, I encourage you to follow one of the Folk School's values: Kindness: We treat everyone with respect, humility, and warmth. In addition, the Folk School's mission states that we bring people together in a nurturing environment. As we stay true to our mission, the Folk School will continue to be transparent with information regarding the health of our community. We will use our website as our primary communication source and will provide regular updates.
For now, be safe, be kind, and practice compassion.
March 19, 2020 --- Updated, 9:30 p.m.
The Cherokee County Health Department's Facebook page.posted the following:
"The Cherokee County Health Department is alerting residents of a potential exposure to COVID-19 in the Brasstown, NC area.
An individual with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 that is isolated in Cherokee County attended a Contra Dance at the John C. Campbell Folk School located in Brasstown, NC on Tuesday, March 10th, 2020.
There is no ongoing risk of exposure at this location. However, if you attended the event on March 10th, 2020 and have symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough or shortness of breath, you should contact the local health department in the county you reside in for additional information. Cherokee County Health Department can be reached Monday - Friday 8:00 am until 5:00 pm at 828-837-7486.
If you attended this event and are showing symptoms that require medical attention, please call ahead to your doctor or local health department. Do not go to the hospital, urgent care, local health department or your doctor's office without calling first. Your doctor can make special arrangements to evaluate you.
If you attended the event and do not have symptoms, it is recommended that you continue to practice good social distancing, meaning you should try to keep at least six feet between yourself and other people. Monitor yourself and people in your household for any potential symptoms until fourteen days after your potential exposure, and make sure you are avoiding social gatherings or crowds of people."
March 19, 2020
We are sad to announce the Cherokee County (NC) Department of Public Health has confirmed that an attendee at the contra dance on March 10, 2020 at the Folk School has tested positive for COVID-19. The Cherokee County Health Department released this statement the evening of March 18:
"A New York resident that tested positive for COVID-19 is being monitored and following isolation orders in Cherokee County. The patient is doing well and is in isolation. The patient is a resident of New York State and traveled to Cherokee County, where they became ill and were tested and placed on isolation. Since cases are reported under the state of residency, this case will be identified as a New York State case, not a North Carolina case. Therefore, this case will not show up on the North Carolina maps as a Cherokee County case.
The Cherokee County Health Department is working diligently to identify close contacts. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will continue to assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing for those impacted."
The Folk School is in the process of identifying and notifying students, staff, and community members who may have come in contact with this person. If you have concerns regarding details of this specific situation or health-related questions, we encourage you to contact Cherokee County Department of Public Health at (828) 837-7486. If you know of anyone who was at the dance, please refer them to this page for complete information. For further concerns, feel free to contact us at 1-800-365-5724 or 828-837-2775.
The safety of our Folk School community is our top priority. We are grateful for the support of our Folk School family, and we encourage you to take care of yourselves. We will update this page as needed with information regarding COVID-19 related matters.
March 13, 2020
John C. Campbell Folk School is committed to providing a safe and transformative experience for all students, instructors, staff, and visitors. We have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). Yesterday afternoon, NCDHHS announced: "To slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and reduce the number of people infected, NCDHHS recommends that organizers of events that draw more than 100 people cancel, postpone or modify these events or offer online streaming services beginning March 13, 2020. These events include large gatherings where people are in close contact (less than 6 feet), such as concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith-based events and other large gatherings."
As a preemptive measure and to be a partner in the national and statewide efforts of reducing the spread of COVID-19, effective today, March 13, 2020 at 5 p.m., we are suspending all classes, concerts, dances, and events through April 18, 2020. Because the Folk School has over 100 students arriving on campus from all over the United States for each session and most of our public events draw more than 100 attendees, we feel the suspension of these activities is essential in protecting the health of our community. Our registration and programming staff are in the process of contacting pre-registered students, instructors, and performers directly by phone and email.
Empty Bowls, our annual fundraiser for Cherokee and Clay county food banks (initially scheduled for March 21), has been postponed. We will announce the new date later this spring. Contact Events Coordinator, Josh Floyd firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What are the hours of the administrative offices?
All administrative offices are operating on regular schedules of Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. EST. The Registration staff is accepting registrations for classes listed on our website and in the 2020 class catalog. The Craft Shop & History Center will be closed until further notice.
What if I need to cancel my class registration due to a COVID-19 related issue?
During this uncertain time, we are amending our cancellation policy for students who cannot attend the Folk School due to a COVID-19 related issue. We are waiving the cancellation fee and students will be offered a gift certificate at the value of what has been paid. The certificate can be used within the next three years for future classes or purchases in the Craft Shop.
What is the Folk School doing to ensure hygiene and safety?
We will continue to follow best-practice safety procedures aimed at preventing the spread of influenza-like illnesses and COVID-19.
-We have escalated our cleanings of studios and common areas including entryways, Dining Hall, Keith House Community Room, and public restrooms.
-Hand sanitizers are available in all studios and communal spaces.
-We are providing safety and hygiene training and information at instructor & student orientations and staff meetings.
-We have displayed posters detailing CDC recommendations for handwashing and hygiene in studios and public restrooms.
-We are providing additional paid time off to hourly, part- and full-time employees who are ill or have sick kids at home.
-We are encouraging students, instructors and staff to follow these North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC recommendations.
We appreciate the understanding and continued support of our Folk School family. We will continue to communicate frequently on our website and social media. If you have questions or concerns, we invite you to contact us: email@example.com or 1-800-FOLK-SCH.