SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah-Chatham County Public School System leaders discussed during a board meeting Wednesday how they plan to return to classrooms this fall.
They say they are cautiously optimistic and planning for a full return to in-person learning, five days a week on Aug. 4, 2021.
Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett says they are seeing positive signs in the community, but there are still unknowns like the impact of summer travel, virus variants, and more. While they are planning for five days in-person this fall, they say it will be considered a transition year.
“Well do lots of working with our staff to ensure that we are paying attention to the whole person. Not just the cognitive performance, because we are performing in the way we should be which is looking at how we are recovering from this traumatic experience.”
They say virtual learning will remain a factor and safety protocols will remain in place. As they are making plans for a full return to the classroom, Dr. Levett says their decision depends on where we are as a community in the future.
While some board members wanted a firm date to have a plan for parents to make decisions, others felt that wasn’t possible.
“It’s frustrating that we keep kicking the can down the road waiting and waiting and waiting for a perfect situation when we don’t know when that perfect is going to be and we have to plan accordingly and plan with the goal line in mind. I feel like we keep shifting this goal and I know that many in our community feel that way too and it’s going to affect the decision of families that are being asked to make now,” District 1 board representative Denise Grabowski.
“A guaranteed date doesn’t help us because something could change the day after the guaranteed date. The guaranteed date is the goal is five days a week August 4th. We’re going to have kids in school all summer five days a week, I mean why is there this veil that the superintendent is trying to subterfuge five days a week for next school year? She’s said it. It’s her goal, it’s been her goal every year she’s been the superintendent.; It was her goal last year we sat around all summer doing plans to do 5 days a week and it got a lot worse so there you go.” District 6 board representative Dr. David Bringman said.
“If we can continue as a community to see those numbers reduce and restrictions lessen then we’ll be able to see everyone,” said Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett.
Leaders at this point have not set that but rather reinforced that they are planning for five days of in-person learning on Aug. 4, which will follow their full in-person summer learning program.
The district will be having limited in-person graduation ceremonies for the class of 2021 at Savannah State University and will hold what they are calling a “rainbow ceremony” for 2020 graduates of all schools as well.
“I’m so excited about the possibility of having these kids in real life and real person on the stage again,” said Board President Dr. Joe Buck.
Those ceremonies will require masks, social distancing, and more.