SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Bryan County Schools updated parents on their plans for the 2020-2021 school year.
Superintendent Paul T. Brooksher sent the following email to parents to update them on when school will begin and if it will be in-person.
Dear Bryan County Schools Families,
I can only imagine how difficult it is for you and your student(s) as you wonder what school might look like next year as a result of COVID-19. Rest assured, system staff have been working hard to stay current with agency guidelines related to the safe operation of schools. The district continues to partner with the Governor’s Office, Georgia Department of Education, Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other advisory agencies to prepare for the reopening of schools. One of the most challenging aspects of this work is that restrictions and guidelines can change on a weekly basis.
The 1st Day of School
I am going to assume one question that is extremely important to all of you right now is whether we plan to reopen our schools. On behalf of over 1,300 employees I can confidently say, we miss our students, parents, fine arts performances, athletic competitions, special events, and community involvement. So, the answer to that question is a resounding, “YES!” Currently, our plan is to follow our board approved school calendar for 2020-2021 and open school for in-person instruction on August 5th. This may be the most memorable 1st day of school ever in my 24 years in public education!
Reopening Schools and Preparedness
I know each of you wants to know exactly what school will look like in August, and I truly wish I could tell you. What I can tell you is not knowing is definitely not due to a lack of interest or planning. System staff and principals have worked diligently to come up with a variety of scenarios and options constructed around the most current COVID-19 information and guidelines. Because we are cognizant that guidelines, restrictions, and expectations for public schools continue to evolve, we want to be prudent about giving information concerning the particulars about school opening so the message doesn’t change multiple times prior to August 5th. With that in mind, our goal is to be able to give you more detailed information on July 17th.
Open House is one of the most important days at the beginning of every school year. It is a time when students and parents can meet their teachers and go over things such as schedule, transportation, clinic needs, supplies, etc. Considering the number of people who usually attend these events and that we must have control over who has access to our school buildings and staff, we will not be holding the traditional face-to-face Open House events for the 2020-2021 school year. Each school is working on an innovative plan to address the needs that are usually taken care of at Open House, and you should receive this information from your child’s school on July 20th.
If some restrictions are not lifted and/or lessened we will be forced to, once again, provide instruction through an online format similar to what occurred from March to May. One example of such a restriction is student transportation. Current guidance and restrictions require that we only transport 11 students per bus versus the 50 students we normally transport. As you can see, this current guidance would create an impossible barrier to providing in-person instruction, considering we transport almost 7,000 students every morning and afternoon. Our desire is certainly to open school in-person and on time; however, in order to prepare for a worst case scenario, we are asking you to complete the following e-learning survey (Link to BCS Parent Survey).
Even though I can almost guarantee something will change between now and the 1st day of school on August 5th, please know you have a dedicated group of educational professionals working extremely hard to proactively navigate the complexities of next school year. Our highest priority continues to be the well-being of our students, staff, and community.
I look forward to sharing additional information with you on July 17th. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
Paul T. Brooksher, Ph.D.
Bryan County Schools