It's the first day of school around the High Country and it is going to be different this year.

Watauga County Schools will begin the year with 9 weeks of remotely learning. However, teachers and other staff have already been at work in the school buildings and new precautions have been implemented. Anyone entering a school facility — employee or visitor — must pass a temperature screening at the door. They are also required to answer a series of questions that assess their potential exposure to COVID-19. All staff inside school buildings are required to wear masks at all times except when teachers are alone in their classrooms conducting virtual lessons. The district has also implemented a number of enhanced cleaning and safety procedures around school facilities as a whole.

Avery County Schools return to class utilizing the 4x1 plan, with students in class Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with Wednesdays being remote learning days while facilities are cleaned and teacher planning and meetings are held.

Ashe County Schools will have students attending in person two days a week, and remote learning three days a week, with the schedule set alphabetically. All students will work remotely on Wednesdays while facilities are cleaned and teacher planning and meetings are held.