Coweta Schools Start Date Moved to August 13

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From Coweta County School District:

Coweta Schools will begin the 2020-21 school year on Thursday, August 13, with both in-person and online options available for parents, following a Board vote to delay the start of the school year for students for one week.

Coweta County Superintendent Dr. Evan Horton said that the school system will continue to monitor local health events and guidance in the coming weeks, and will meet with school board members again at the end of July to assess current conditions and modify system plans as necessary for the new school year.

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the Coweta County School System has developed draft plans for the reopening of schools that provide for the health and safety of students and staff, 175 days of student instruction during the new school year, and flexibility of choice for Coweta parents.

The Coweta County School System released the draft guidelines for the reopening of schools on June 30, and will continue to update and refine planning based on state and local guidance, parent and stakeholder feedback, and local health conditions.

Superintendent Evan Horton discussed the guidelines with Board of Education members at their July 14 meeting, and said that the plan is being continually reviewed by system and school officials, as well as school staff and school councils.  The plan was released to parents for comment though July 10.

Dr. Horton recommended that the board delay the opening of school for 7 days (to Thursday, July 13) for students, in order to prepare buildings and classrooms, to allow for training of school staff in mitigative and protective measures called for in the plan, and to allow school administrators time to communicate with staff and parents before the start of the school year. School staff will report to schools at their previously scheduled start date (including August 3 for teachers).

Under the plan, Coweta Schools will open with two classroom choices this year: face-to-face instruction, or remote virtual learning.  Guidelines for face-to-face instruction allow for the reopening of schools as long as community and state health conditions allow.  Parents also have the option  of signing up between July 6 and 17 for an online, virtual learning option as an alternative to face-to-face instruction, on a semester by semester basis.

Coweta’s guidelines for classroom instruction are based on health guidance distributed by the CDC, Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Department of Public Health, and presume that Coweta County remains a county of “minimal to moderate” spread of COVID-19 as identified by the Georgia Department of Public Health.  These protocols are subject to change as the guidance of local, state and national officials change in response to the spread of COVID-19.

Parents opting for face-to-face instruction will be asked whether their child or children will require bus service (morning, afternoon or both).  They will also be made aware of the protocols and expectations under the guidelines, such as:

  • Social distancing enforced where practicable in cafeterias, classrooms and other school facilities.

  • Staff and student health monitoring and increased hygienic practices such as hand washing and hand sanitizer.

  • Allowing and strongly encouraging (but not requiring) face coverings for students

  • Expanded daily cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

  • Group size limitations for students in settings such as the cafeteria and during recess and PE, and limitations of non-essential visitors to the school.

  • See more detailed school plans here.

Parents opting for remote learning will be asked to review Coweta’s “Empower” platform, and sign up for the option between July 6 and July 17.  Parents will be contacted regarding the sign-up period. They will also be asked to verify:

  • That they are committed to the daily implementation of the remote learning environment.

  • And that they are committed to ensuring that their child receives daily work assignments.

  • That they are committed to the choice through the first semester (from through December 18).  Parents can opt to sign up for the second semester later in the fall

Dr. Horton said that registration for the online option will close, as planned, after Friday, July 17, in order to assess registration numbers at that time and prepare for teacher staffing of the online option.  Horton said that the school system plans to reopen registration once that is done, however, at the end of July.

Students in the virtual option will remain enrolled in their base school, with use of their assigned Chromebook and other materials.  Students will remain eligible for school extracurricular activities.

Superintendent Horton said that the school system realizes that the COVID-19 epidemic is an evolving health situation that will continue to change, and the system will update school operational protocols as needed.  “These guidelines will change,” he said, noting that they could continue to be altered as a result of the changing circumstances of the epidemic or future guidance from the state, and refined through parent feedback in the coming weeks.

Go here and here for 2020-21 school opening guidelines, here for Coweta Schools’ digital learning option adn online registration, and here to provide feedback through a short parent survey.

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