COVID Update – March 2021

John Douglas, Director of Development

Had I known four years ago that my job at FBRA would include monitoring people’s health, reading medical studies in JAMA, and communicating with healthcare professionals, parents, and staff on a daily basis surrounding testing, quarantines, and vaccinations for a deadly virus, I probably would have passed. However, as stressful as it has sometimes been, I am quite grateful to be able to help the members of our community. 


French Broad River Academy has been one of the few schools in Buncombe County whose campuses have remained open this school year. Due to the hard work and dedication of the staff, we started school on time and were able to work creatively with schedule and programming to keep everyone as safe as possible. All along, our goal has been to keep as many students in school on a daily basis as possible, while mitigating the risk of spreading the virus. So far, we have been pretty successful, with no known cases of transmission occurring at school.

Although different families have different levels of risk tolerance, we have been grateful for the amount of support and high levels of compliance that we have received in enforcing the decisions and protocols enacted by the FBRA COVID Advisory Committee has looked to the CDC to inform and set policies for the school. Up to this point in the school year, I have received well over 200 phone calls, emails or texts from parents letting me know that their child is displaying a symptom of COVID. Many of these symptoms are pretty minor sore throats, runny noses, or headaches . . . things that in normal years would not have kept a student off campus, but parents are still willing to follow the procedures when they know it will cause disruption to their family’s schedule and life. This demonstrates the strong connections between members of our community and how everyone realizes that we are all in the same canoe together. 

As you may know, North Carolina has opened up COVID vaccines to teachers and school staff. We have worked hard, with the help of some parents who are connected to the healthcare industry in town, to find vaccine sites for our staff. Many found appointments in Charlotte and East Tennessee before Buncombe County unrolled their plans to vaccinate teachers. The school is doing everything we can to free up teachers to take whatever time off they need to receive a vaccine. Hopefully, by early April, staff will all have received both doses of the vaccine. Both Pfizer and Moderna are currently running trials on twelve-year-olds and teens; however, it is unknown when and if vaccines will become available for this age group.