Dear Folk School Family,
In March, we made the difficult decision to suspend classes and activities due to the spread of COVID-19. Since then, our staff and board of directors have been meeting regularly to discuss how and when we will safely resume our programs and events. We’ve appreciated hearing the many ideas and opinions about re-opening the school from our instructors, students, and local community members.
These past several weeks, we have all continued to learn more about the science behind COVID-19, and the increasing concerns of further spread. As much as we’ve tried to re-imagine a Folk School with physical distancing and additional safety measures in place, we keep coming back to our top and constant priority, which is to keep you, our staff, and our community safe and healthy. After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all previously scheduled classes and events, including Fall Festival, concerts and dances through the rest of 2020. Unfortunately, at this time, we believe the Folk School’s unique environment of learning and living together is not conducive to physical distancing and the additional measures required for safety.
While we cannot currently bring folks together in our usual way during these uncertain times, we are finding creative ways to stay connected with you and are looking forward to resuming classes in 2021. Our next catalog featuring January-June 2021 classes will be released on our website in July. Our weekly Morningsongs on Facebook each Friday at 7:45 continue to bring you songs of hope and joy. Our programming team is dreaming up webinars and day classes for late summer and fall.
We want to stay in touch with you! Staff are working remotely or on campus and can be contacted by calling our main office at 1-800-365-5724. We encourage you to subscribe to our eNews. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, where we’ll regularly appear on your feed with updates and photos. Our YouTube channel is filling up with Folk School webinars and garden videos from Farmer Teddy.
We are grateful to our loyal family of folkschoolers for your encouragement and support. Your donations have been and will continue to be important as we strive to keep the Folk School itself healthy. We can’t wait to see you back in Brasstown in 2021. In the meantime, let’s all keep “Singing Behind the Plow” together.
Jerry Jackson, Executive Director
Pandemic-Related Class Cancellation Refund Policy, updated June 25, 2020
While classes and events are currently suspended because of the Covid-19 pandemic, our board of directors and staff continue to work toward reconnecting with our Folk School family on campus once it is considered safe and appropriate to do so.
We have made the decision to cancel classes through the remainder of 2020. If you are registered for an upcoming class you have four options regarding your refund, namely:
1. Gift Certificate: You can elect to receive a gift certificate for the full amount you have paid. The certificate can be used within the next three years for future classes or purchases in our Craft Shop. Choosing this option helps the Folk School remain strong and ready to eventually resume classes and events.
2. Donate to the Folk School: As a show of support for the Folk School, you may choose to donate all or part of what would be refunded for your canceled class. If you are able, please consider offering aid to the school in this way.
3. Refund: All requested cash refunds will be processed 90 days from the date of your refund request.
4. Transfer to a future class. January-June 2021 classes will be posted on our website on July 13.
Our Registration staff is contacting students in class-date order to discuss refund options. If you have not yet been contacted, but would like to initiate your refund, call registration staff at 1-800-365-5724.
Thank you for your understanding and support during these trying times. You are our community, and our strength to overcome adversity comes from you. Be well and stay safe!
Health and Safety is Our Top Priority
As we prepare for 2021 programs, the health and safety of our students, instructors, staff, and community is our top priority. We recognize COVID-19 will likely continue to be a public health concern in 2021, and there is much more to learn about it in the coming months. Our staff is continuing to monitor guidelines from the CDC and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and developing a plan for reopening, and will be sharing the details on our website. To ensure your safety, we may find it necessary to continue to practice physical distancing in 2021 and to implement additional safety procedures.
Housekeeping staff will increase the frequency of cleanings of housing, studios, and common areas, using EPA-approved disinfectants for COVID-19 and influenza. Deep cleanings will be performed between class sessions. Hand sanitizer and wipes will be available in all studios and common areas.
Physical Distancing and Masks
According to CDC guidelines at the time of your class, it may be necessary to require our students, instructors, and staff to practice physical distancing and wear face coverings such as masks or shields. We may also modify our procedures and minimize group gathering sizes, which could impact dances, concerts, and demonstrations.
We are exploring options for our dining hall service that may involve eating in staggered shifts and offering “to-go” options for meals. Rest assured, our dining hall staff will continue to provide full service of fresh and delicious meals, served three times a day.
We are thinking creatively to make the studio experience as safe and comfortable as possible. To increase safety, we have decreased the number of spaces available in all 2021 classes. As the situation improves, we may add additional spaces. We encourage you to sign up early! If your preferred class is full, we’re happy to add you to a waitlist. We may also minimize the sharing of tools in the studios and provide monitors and cameras for instructors to use when teaching and demonstrating. Weather permitting, we will be maximizing the use of outdoor spaces such as our Festival Barn.
Our goal is to provide our students and instructors with a positive Folk School experience of learning and living together in a safe environment. We’ll all be working together to ensure a successful reopening, and we encourage you to visit our website often for updates on our reopening plan. Our registration staff is here to answer your questions and discuss concerns, at 800-365-5724 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. EST.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Folk School Classes and Events During the Pandemic:
Why is the refund period for classes canceled by the Folk School 90 days?
Our board of directors has established a 90-day refund policy on classes canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic to stabilize the short-term operations of the Folk School and to help ensure we remain fully operational for the long-term.
When will 2021 classes be available for registration?
January–June 2021 classes will be posted on our website in mid-July 2020. An e-catalog will be available as well.
July-December 2021 classes will be posted on our website in late November. A printed catalog will be mailed in early December 2020.
What determines whether or not the Folk School will cancel classes in the future?
The Folk School staff and board of directors are making decisions based on state and federal guidelines; the needs of our students, staff, and community; and necessary logistics for resuming operations.
How do I find out about the day classes you?ll be holding in the fall?
We’ll be posting information about the day classes on our website and announcing in our eNewsletters and on Facebook in July and August.
Can I visit the campus even if you’re not having classes?
All of our facilities are currently closed to the public, but you are welcome to walk the nature trails on campus. We ask that you wear a mask, when coming within six feet of other visitors and staff. Current North Carolina guidelines require wearing a mask in public places.
Is the Craft Shop open?
The Craft Shop is currently open by appointment, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Masks are required to enter the shop and a limit of six customers will be allowed in the space at one time. We also accommodate phone orders and curbside pickup. Call us at 828-837-2775 to schedule your visit!
The Folk School transforms lives, bringing people together in a nurturing environment for experiences in learning and community life that spark self-discovery. Located in scenic Brasstown, North Carolina, the Folk School offers year-round weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography and writing.