July 20, 2020
The past four months have presented us all with some unique challenges. During this time, school districts have continued to receive guidance from Center for Disease Control (CDC), Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), and local health officials regarding the reopening of schools. While we have been diligently working on a plan for our school district, guidelines continue to change based on new information and levels of community spread.
Please know that the education of our students is of utmost importance. We are faced with difficult decisions regarding how to return to school with minimal risks for our students, staff, families, and community. Based on the aforementioned guidance and the Return to School Survey results, we have made those decisions and received board approval on July 14, 2020. Our plan is to delay the start of school until August 17th. For many reasons, we believe face to face instruction provides the best learning environment for students; however, there is a need to practice enhanced social distancing, and the most feasible way to do that is to offer parents a choice of full distance/remote learning or a hybrid (A/B) model, essentially reducing the number of students on buses and in the classrooms at one time to less than half.
To assist us in making the necessary plans for the fall, parents/guardians are asked to complete a short commitment survey (one per student in their home), which will go out this week. The survey must be completed by July 31. We recognize that not providing a full-time in-person schedule for students places a burden on some families, but it also helps us protect everyone, especially the medically fragile and at risk population.
Open House is an exciting time of the year when parents and students meet their new teachers and begin forming those relationships. Unfortunately, all Open House activities and Pre-K orientation will take place virtually rather than in person. The specifics of those plans are forthcoming.
These are unprecedented times, and there is no blueprint on how to move forward. While we take our responsibility to keep staff, students, and families as safe as possible, we understand that there is no way to guarantee students or adults will not be exposed, regardless of when we return to school. We can however, with appropriate measures in place and by working together, lessen the chances of exposure. Please know that this entire situation is fluid and our plans may be modified as local, state, and federal guidance, restrictions, and expectations continue to evolve. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to prepare for the school year. We will continue to provide updates.
Angela Williams, Ed.D.