Savannah-Chatham teacher on state task force creating plan to reopen schools

Savannah-Chatham teacher on state task force creating plan to reopen schools

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s a big question on everyone’s mind. When and how will Georgia schools reopen for the next school year?

One Savannah-Chatham County Public School System teacher has been selected to the Governor’s task force to address just that.

A teacher from Windsor Forrest is ready to serve on the state’s K-12 Restart Working Group. It’s an honor Ernie Lee is hopeful will help schools across the state.

“It’s a big job and I am glad that we’re looking at it now because we really need to have it. Just like good classroom management, we really need to think about a lot of this before it comes on us because we’ve got to be ready for it,” Lee said.

A huge task ahead of teachers, administrators, public health leaders, and organizations is to plan a safe 2020-2021 school year during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will focus on six key areas from school meals, to digital learning, mental health, and more.

“We’ve got to revision school,” Lee said.

This isn’t the first time Lee has represented the state. He was the 2016 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

He’s hopeful the working groups will be thorough and diligent, looking to address all aspects of school for everyone. As the only local representative, Lee will sit on the supplemental learning group and wants to bring a classroom perspective.

“If you haven’t been in a classroom really in the last three years or so as a teacher or administrator, you really don’t know what’s going on. So, the thing that I’ve looked at all these workgroups and all of them have a classroom teacher on that committee, so we’re really going to say look guys this may or may not work, these are some things that you need to consider,” Lee said.

Savannah- Chatham leaders met last week to begin discussions on how to proceed next school year, but so far have had little guidance from the state. These working groups will help set guidelines and create support for districts.

Lee feels the appointed group's efforts will be beneficial for all as we navigate these unprecedented times.

“We are in a new situation and it’s an opportunity to make some really positive changes so again, while I am excited about the new year I’m a little bit anxious about it as well cause I don’t know what it’s going to look like. But just because we don’t know doesn’t mean it’s going to be bad,” Lee said.

The K-12 Restart Working Group will meet beginning in June. Lee is working with Savannah-Chatham leaders and asks for patience, open minds, and kindness as they discuss what’s next.

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