CANDLER COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - When school starts in Candler County August 3, district leaders anticipate roughly 2,200 students will be enrolled.
The superintendent said he believes they have a more comprehensive plan for the year compared to how they improvised to finish last year. Summer planning centered almost entirely around the pandemic.
Candler County will offer students the options of in-person teaching or virtual instruction.
“We’re all at different points in the progression of COVID-19 so we knew we needed a choice,” said Dr. Bubba Longgrear. “The key was ‘How can we design that choice?’ and deliver them,”
Offering both appeals to some parents like Blair Rackett, who's around young people every day as a dance instructor. She said her children will be on campus.
"My kids are ready to go back to school. I'm ready for them to go back to school," she said. "I do want some steps in place. I know life doesn't completely go back to normal."
Longgrear said transportation will be one of their biggest challenges, but they have some steps in place.
"We have stand-alone hand sanitizer stations at the door of each bus. Drivers will be wearing face shields. We're encouraging students to wear masks," he noted.
In addition, they’l ask asking any parents who can drop off and pick up their students to do so, protecting them and reducing numbers on the bus.Candler County Schools will use Edgenuity as their virtual curriculum for students in middle and high schools. For elementary (Kindergarten through Fifth grade), they’ll use a compilation of online programs with more input from the grade level teachers. But they’re asking families who initially pick virtual to stay with it for at least part of the year.
If you’re a student in K-5 and you sign up for learning at home, that’s a 9 week commitment. If you’re in grades 6-12, it’s a semester.
He says they’ll use their hospital/homebound plan for students with medical issues - COVD-19 or otherwise. In addition, the plan to issue Chromebooks to students as early as possible, in case the district is forced to close again.
As far as school lunches, they’ll offer a hybrid as well. In an effort to incorporate social distancing, some classes will eat a traditional lunch in the respective cafeteria. Meanwhile, other classes will pick up “grab and go” bag lunches and take them outside or back to a classroom.
Longgrear also said they’ve made contingency plans from further spread of COVID-19, locally or statewide, forces schools to close like they did in March. They’ll distribute Chromebook tablets early in the school year. If forced to close, students would have the device with them and virtual instruction could begin sooner.