GCSS Return to School Plan - Fall 2020
In April 2020, a Return to School Task Force was formed for the purposes of exploring options for re-opening the Greene County School System. The task force examined a wide variety of data and resources, including the following:
- Recommendations from the CDC
- Recommendations from the Georgia Department of Education
- The office of the Governor
- Consultation with Northeast Georgia RESA
- Parent, staff, and stakeholder inputReview by the system leadership team
- Research materials from Florida, Maryland, and the U.S. Department of Education
Abundant research on student learning shows that the majority of students learn best in a traditional, face-to-face learning environment. Our preference would be to return to school with full-time, face-to-face teaching and learning for all students, if we could do so with low risk to the health and safety of our students and staff.
Based on community spread information and input from the community, the Greene County School System plans to implement Option 2 as outlined in the below infographic when we return to school on August 17th. This plan, based on stakeholder feedback from our parent and staff surveys and recommendations from the Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Department of Public Health, provides face-to-face instruction for Pk-3rd grade on a rotating on-campus schedule. Students in grades 4-12 will use a distance learning model, with opportunities for supplemental small group instruction in-person at their school buildings. In addition, parents of students in grades PK-3 may select the Virtual Learning opportunity, which will be fully online with no in-person instruction.
This plan is targeted for the first 9 weeks of school. The superintendent will regularly monitor community spread of COVID-19 and when safety permits, all students will return to school facilities for face-to-face instruction, preferably by Thanksgiving.
Please understand that if Greene County’s level of COVID-19 spread changes as indicated by the Georgia Department of Public Health, our return to school plan may change as well. All plans are tentative in these rapidly-changing times
In anticipation of implementing the hybrid model laid out in Option 2, we are installing a variety of practical health safety measures to protect our students on the bus and in their school buildings, in an effort to accommodate as much face-to-face instruction as possible. These safeguards include:
- Additional hand-washing stations throughout our schools
- Plexiglass partitions installed in our lunchroom service lines and between the sinks in our restrooms
- Additional hand sanitizer stations across our campuses
- Touchless water bottle refill stations
- Handheld no-contact temperature scanners
- Touchless temperature measurement kiosks
- Rearranging our classrooms to facilitate social distancing
- Limiting the number of adults in each building by restricting visitor and volunteer access
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures by our custodial team to keep all surfaces continuously sanitize
It should be noted that the "distance learning" model implemented in the spring was an emergency plan that was implemented under extreme conditions. Teachers, parents, and students all did an outstanding job of continuing learning, but the plan to be implemented at the beginning ofthe 2020-2021 school year is very much a pro-active model that will include the following:
- Implementation of the Canvas Learning Management System
- Calendar change to provide for nine days of professional learning focused on distance and virtual learningCreation of Internet "Hot Spots" for areas of the county without reliable internet access
- Implementation of flexible, small groups of students who will be able to receive targeted instruction
- Regular home visits by school staff for wellness and academic checks
Building leaders will be providing further instructions soon to parents that will detail building, grade, and academic course specific information for beginning the new school year.