MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Schools across the state are gearing up for the upcoming school year. It’s been a long summer for school officials who have been working hard to make the best decisions for their school.
On August 3, Montgomery County Schools will open their doors back up to students for the 2020-2021 school year.
When the school bell rings students and staff will fill the halls again for the first time since closing their doors in March.
“Let’s come back. Let’s do the best we can. Let’s practice good cleaning procedures, good hygiene,” said Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Hugh Kight.
Kight says this summer has consisted of various meetings with other local superintendents and health officials. Devising a plan that’ll allow students and staff to come to school without having to worry that they could be susceptible to COVID-19.
“Probably our first couple of days, we usually go over rules and routines, we’re going to go over rules, routines, and safety,” said Kight.
School officials gave parents the opportunity to choose face-to-face learning or virtual. For those who choose face-to-face, they will return on August 3. Virtual learners will start classes on August 17.
“He’s ready to get back in school. His mom’s ready for him to get back to school and it’s just hard on us not being the educators to give him what he needs,” said Grandmother Mary Caraway.
Caraway says her 6th grade grandson is going back in the classroom and she’s confident that the school’s procedures will be better than what he may be around outside of the classroom.
“I know what’s going on here and I know all of the precautions are being taken,” said Caraway.
Students who take the bus will have their temperatures checked by a bus monitor before getting on and students will have assigned seats with their families. Buses will be sanitized daily.
“We can do a bus in about 5 minutes now. Sanitize the entire bus,” said Kight.
Those who are car riders will have their temperatures checked at the front door of the school. Everyone will get masks on the first day as well.
“We’re not going to mandate it, but we’re going to encourage face masks,” said Kight.
If a child runs a temperature or has any symptoms of COVID-19 at any point during the school day, or on the bus, they will be isolated in a specific area and be required to wear a mask until a guardian picks him or her up.
Lunchtime is another top priority for the school. Students will be socially distanced, Kight says there's plenty of seating to do so including some outdoor lunch tables. Lunches will be pre-packaged if the student is buying.
“I’m going to keep my distance, wear my mask if I’m in a crowd or close to somebody and I’m going to hand sanitize all the time,” said 6th grader AJ Skinner.
AJ Skinner says he can't wait to be back in school. He says virtual learning was too hard for him.
"It was really really weird being at home doing work."
Superintendent Kight says if schools had to shut down at some point this year they’d be more prepared to go virtual. The one-to-one school system means there are enough Chromebooks for the students.
“Kids will be able to get assignments through emails and the lessons. We feel a lot better, we’re ready,” said Kight.
Montgomery County Schools is following the Georgia High School Association when it comes to athletics. As of right now students are still practicing, but the season has not been determined yet.
Reporter: "What are you looking forward to this year?"
“A better one than last year,” said Skinner.
The deadline to sign up for virtual schooling is August 8th.