School Board votes to revise school-closing trigger at Monday’s meeting

The Moore County School Board moved the “school building closure” trigger Monday night at their regular season meeting.

Previously, the board approved a Reopening Framework that stated as long as the active case count remains below 33 (or less than .5% of the population) students can continue to attend in person classes. Once that number reached above 33 (or between .5 % and 1%), local schools will move to a hybrid model where half of students will attend school every other week while those not at school continue to learn remotely.

On Monday, the Board changed that decision-trigger to be based on absenteeism at any given school rather than the amount of community spread. At the time of the meeting there were 26 active COVID-19 cases in Moore County.

After the meeting, Director of School Chad Moorehead said he preferred a plan that allowed parent the most personal choice.

“I felt that it was important that this section of our framework for reopening be changed.  Since our school system is allowing parents to choose between in-person and remote learning, we have a hybrid model now that is responsive to individual homes,” he said. “There may be a point that we have to transition to full remote learning for a period of time but I feel like personal choice is the best option.  If the spread of the virus increases rapidly parents can choose to move to remote learning for their own children.  We are all working hard inside the schools to be as safe as possible and to be able to keep the buildings open.”

The revised plan also stated that community events like the rate of sickness, hospitalization rates, etc will also be considered in addition to school absentee rates. It also states that administration may choose to close individual schools for 3-5 day for thorough disinfecting should smaller outbreaks occur.

To read a complete copy of the Metro School Board Reopening Framework, click this link.

School Board meetings take place the second Monday of each month at the Central Office Building located on the Lynchburg Elementary Campus. Each meeting begins at 6 p.m. and can also be attended virtually. The next meeting takes place on September 14. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow hosts Enrollment Day

Motlow State will host a Fall 2020 FASTPASS Enrollment Day on each of its campuses this week. The events are designed for prospective and current students to complete their requirements for the upcoming fall semester, which begins Aug. 24.

It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s appropriately socially distanced and it’s a first step towards a brighter future. Motlow College reminds would-be students that enrollment events will take place next week on all four campuses including Moore County.

The Fall FASTPASS event will take place on the Moore County campus on Thursday, August 13. Events will also take place on the Fayettevile campus on Monday, McMinnville campus on Wednesday, and Smyrna campus on Monday, August 17.

Motlow staff will be strategically positioned at campus entrances to filter visitors based on need. Staff will assist in directing students to the proper location inside each campus facility to complete requirements for the upcoming semester including admissions applications, class registration, and dual enrollment forms.

Students who have financial aid holds should come prepared to clear those holds so processing can be achieved. Dual Enrollment students and others will have the opportunity to drop off any needed paperwork.

“We are excited to offer this opportunity for students on our campuses,” said Lisa Sanders, assistant academic dean in Fayetteville. “Although all our services are available online, we know some students need a person-to-person approach to complete their requirements for fall comfortably. We are happy to provide this personal approach.”

Students are required to complete a Self-Assessment Health Screening before coming to campus. Visitors are requested to follow all CDC and TN Department of Health guidelines, as well as Motlow’s Return to Campus Plan. You can view that plan by clicking here.

For more information, visit the FASTPASS Enrollment Day web page at this link. •

Motlow encourages graduates to stay on track during the pandemic

Officials at Motlow State encourage would be college freshmen to move forward with their fall college plans. {File Photo}

As we enter the month of August, there are so many unknowns. For recent high school graduates, one of those is the uncertainty of the on-campus experience at college campuses across the country. In fact many would-be freshman may be considering sitting out this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But they could lose $90,000 in lifetime earnings, according to Motlow State Community College.

That opinion’s based on a new analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that stated that taking a gap year reduces the return to college by a quarter and can cost tens of thousands of dollars in lost lifetime earnings.

CBS News, referencing the same report, says, “About half of the long-term earnings losses come from forgoing the $43,000 salary that new graduates typically earn in their first year of work after graduation.”

Wage increases are steeper at the beginning of young professionals’ careers — the graduate who earns their degree at age 22 can, by the time they are 25, expect to earn an average of $52,000, according to the analysis by economists Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz. 

“Being a year behind, these differences add up each year, so that those graduating later never catch up to those who graduated earlier. Together, these costs add up to more than $90,000 over one’s working life, which erodes the value of a college degree,” Abel and Deitz write. 

As such, Motlow State encourage the class of 2024 to enroll and reminds them that there is still time to do so. Classes begin Aug. 24, and there is still time for prospective students to apply. Returning students should register for fall 2020 classes as soon as possible. Motlow will hold an on-campus Enrollment Day on Monday, August 10 in Fayetteville. You can also enroll online at this link. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow College president named to national board

Motlow State President Dr. Michael Torrence, shown here giving a speech to the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce, was recently appointed to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Commission on Institutional Infrastructure and Transformation. {Photo Provided}

MOORE COUNTY — The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Commission on Institutional Infrastructure and Transformation recently appointed Motlow State President Dr. Michael Torrence to a three year appointment that extends until June 2023.

The AACC is the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. The association represents nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions, and more than 12 million students.

Motlow’s seventh president recently received other appointments and awards including the PTK Honor Society Presidential Advisory Board, PTK Honor Society International Paragon President Award, GlobalMindED Inclusive Excellence Leader Award, and the Berkeley College Online Advisory Board.

“We are certain that Michael Torrence’s insights and leadership will significantly contribute to the Board’s decision-making process and its ability to serve the interests of all AACC member institutions,” said Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, President and CEO of AACC. “Dedicated leadership is essential to the continued success of community colleges and our association.” •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

LES orientation planned for August 3

Students orientation will happen two ways this year at Lynchburg Elementary School due to the COVID-19 health situation. {File Photo}

LYNCHBURG — Officials at Lynchburg Elementary plan both Kindergarten Orientation and Grades 1-6 Orientation on Monday, August 3. One will happen in person and the other online. Class lists will be posted at the front of the school on Friday, July 31. If you’ve registered a child and they do not appear on any class list, call the LES office at 931-759-7388.

Kindergarten orientation in person

Kindergarten Orientation will take place in person in two sessions: 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the LES Kindergarten classrooms. Parents may choose either session and teachers will contact you to arrange times. If student will be learning in person, parents should bring their classroom supplies to the orientation session. Supply lists are available by clicking here. New kindergarten students are welcome.

“Our kindergarten teachers are excited to meet their new students and their families,” the school said.

LES grade 1-6 welcome videos

Welcome videos for LES grades 1-6 will be posted online at the Moore County Schools website. In order to follow recommended social distancing guidelines, first through sixth grades will not host an in person orientation. Instead, students can meet their teachers by visiting the Moore County Schools website and then navigating to Lynchburg Elementary and then Faculty and Staff. From there, you will choose your child’s grade and then their homeroom teacher.

Orientation videos will be posted by Monday, August 3 at 2 p.m. The first full day of school is August 5. For more information, check out the LES Orientation flyer on the school’s website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Moore Parents: Remote learning applications due by July 28

This school year, parents have the option to send their kids for in person school or stay at home for remote learning. The remote learning application deadline is July 28. {File Photo}

MOORE COUNTY — Last Thursday, the Moore County Board of Education decided to give Lynchburg parents the option to either send their kids to public school for in person learning or keep them at home and participate in remote learning. (To read our full coverage of that meeting, click here.)

However, if you intend to teach your children at home, you’ll need to fill out the school system’s online application prior to July 28. Administrators also plan a remote learning orientation to help parents get acclimated to the at home system. Those orientation will be offered on three dates: Monday, August 3 at 4 p.m. as well as Tuesday, August 4 at 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. Each session will last about an hour and a half.

If after orientation, parents decide that they no longer want to teach their children at home, they will be allowed to change to the in person learning option. Student who initially choose the in person option will have the ability to change to remote learning for the remainder of the grading period.

“At the end of each grading period (nine weeks for LES or twelve weeks for MCHS), students will select to continue remote learning or return to traditional learning,” the school systems website states.

To learn more, visit the school systems website by clicking here. Or for questions, call the Central Offices at 931-759-7303. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

State Report: Tennessee Promise works but needs improvement

Two years ago, Tennessee set an ambitious goal. Through the Drive to 55 Alliance, Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect set a mission to get 55 percent of Tennessean equipped with a college degree of certification by the year 2025.

Many Moore County High School students use the Tennessee Promise program to attend Motlow State and area technical schools. {Photo Provided}

A recent Tennessee Comptroller report shows that Tennessee Promise works but needs improvement if Tennessee’s going to reach that goal.

The Tennessee General Assembly created Tennessee Promise in 2014 in order to encourage more high school graduates to earn an associates degree or technical diploma. Tennessee Promise scholarships offer two years of tuition-free attendance at area community colleges or technical schools including Motlow College in Moore County.

It’s sister program, Tennessee Reconnect, helps more adult learners attend community college and technical schools to earn a certification or postsecondary degree tuition-free.

TN Promise led to more college-going citizens

According to the report, more high graduates attend college as a result of Tennessee Promise. Tennessee’s college-going rate increased from 58.4 percent to 64.3 percent in the first year of the program. It also states that those students are accumulating more college credits, staying enrolled longer, and earning postsecondary credential at a higher rate than other high school graduates.

The report recommends increasing Tennessee Promise participation rates among students from certain subgroups and areas of the state who do not historically attend college including applicants with low ACT scores, minority applicants, and those from lower income households.

It also states that the program requirements most often missed by Tennessee Promise applicants were mandatory meetings and the community service requirement.

They identified several barriers to success such as the full-time enrollment requirement in the summer term and costs not covered by the
Promise program. Adjustments to those elements of the program, among
others, would likely allow more students to remain Promise-eligible and
enrolled in college, the report says.

It also states that first-seminars that teach the skills necessary for college success and hiring completion coaches are best practices that have been helpful at some community colleges.

The report offers solution for the General Assembly, mentor organizations, colleges, and technical schools. To read the full report, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Parents: Moore bus riders should register

Moore County Schools won’t require masks this school year but bus riders will be required to wear masks and register prior to July 30. {File Photo}

According to the plan approved by the Metro School Board last Thursday, the Moore County School Board will not require all students to wear masks to attend the 2020-21 school year. However, students who ride the public buses to school will have their temperature taken prior to boarding the bus and will be required to wear masks while on the bus.

Parents of bus riding students will also need to register their bus rider prior to the first day of school. Only one form per household is required. To view the complete form, click here. If you have questions or concerns, contact Wendy Hart at the Moore County School System’s Central Office 931-759-7303 or visit the Moore County Schools website . Parents should register bus riders by no later than Thursday, July 30 to be eligible to ride the bus on the first day of school, which is August 5. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow adds video and chat to financial aid office info options

Motlow’s new chatbot offers students 24/7 financial aid answers for the fall semester and beyond. They also added a new video portal. {File Photo}

MOORE COUNTY — Would be Motlow students can now get financial aid questions answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year with the college’s new GetAnswers video portal and AI chatbot services. The two news way to contact Motlow are in response to the overwhelming interest in students seeking to attend fall classes, they said in a press release.

“The GetAnswers Video portal hosts short informational videos on a wide range of financial aid topics ranging from the financial aid process to personal finance,” said Motlow Executive Director of Financial Aid Joe Myers. “The videos have an option for Spanish in the closed caption and the transcript. Viewers may select one of the suggested playlists or search for specific topics to begin watching.

“The Artificial Intelligent Chatbot is an engaging tool to have financial aid questions answered anytime. The Chatbot has an extensive knowledge base that is always growing. Still, in the event it cannot provide an answer to a financial aid related topic, it can facilitate the connection with one of our financial aid counselors for additional individualized assistance.”

The priority deadline for financial aid passed on July 15. Students who submitted all paperwork by then have the best chance of being processed when fall classes start in late August. Students who provide financial aid information after July 15 may not have complete financial aid when classes begin and may have to pay their tuition and fees before their processing of financial assistance is finalized.

Fall classes will begin at Motlow on August 24 with a blend of online and on-campus classes scheduled. The College has created a health-assessment form that all students, employees, and visitors will be required to complete daily before arriving on campus. All students, employees, and visitors to any Motlow campus are required to submit the health assessment before coming on campus. Mask wearing and social distancing guidelines will be enforced.

To learn more about the new financial aid options click here. To learn more about the new social distancing and health guidelines click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

School Board will discuss COVID re-opening plan on Thursday

MOORE COUNTY — What’s the continuous learning plan and/or COVID re-opening plan for Moore County Schools? That question will be front and center at the Metro School Board meeting on Thursday, July 16 at 6 p.m. In order to accommodate what could be a larger crowd, the meeting will take place at the LES Cafeteria.

On June 18, Director of Schools Chad Moorehead told The Lynchburg Times that he planned to stick to the Metro School Board approved schedule if possible. (To read that article, click here.)

“We have a school board approved schedule in place and I’m going to do everything I can to stick to it,” he said. “The one variable I can’t control is the virus.”

Whether or not schools should re-open to onsite learning and what that would look like has been a hot topic in Moore County recently as confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise. After holding steady at five total cases up until June 26, Moore County’s case count has since more than quadrupled. As of Monday, July 13 there were 21 total cases with 15 of those being active.

All Metro School Board meetings are open to the general public. To full the full agenda, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}