Schools delay opening to August 12th

Seminole County Schools (SCS), in its efforts to make plans and establish guidelines for a safe return to the important work of teaching and learning for students and employees in the 2020-2021 school year, has delayed the opening of all school until August 12.  At this time, unless otherwise directed by the Governor or the Georgia Department of Education, SCS plans to begin the 2020-2021 school year on Wednesday, August 12, with traditional, in-person instruction. The move from August 5 to August 12 will allow the school system additional time to prepare all facilities to safely open under newly established COVID-10 precautionary guidelines. 

However, the August 12 opening date could be affected yet again when the system’s degree of community spread is determined by state agencies. A recommendation for Seminole County’s  schedule and method of instruction, based on that degree of community spread determination, is expected to come from Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools and the Georgia Department of Public Health by the end of July.

If the state and public health officials determine the degree of community spread is in the “low/no spread” or “minimal/moderate spread” SCS will begin the year with traditional, in-person instruction. In the event state and public health officials determine the degree of community spread is “high/substantial”,  SCS will transition to a distance learning model of instruction. School officials commented that there is a very real chance that SCS could begin in a traditional model and within a week or two shift to a distance learning model. 

“It is important that students and parents understand distance learning for the 2020-2021 school year will not be structured like distance learning from this past Spring. Expectations in terms of attendance, grading and accountability will be the same as traditional instruction,” commented Seminole County School Superintendent Mark Earnest. 

The level of community spread chart on this page  is intended as a guide, not an absolute. “It can and will change as the situation dictates and demands,” added Earnest.

SCS is receiving and studying guidance from the Department of Public Health and the Georgia Department of Education in planning the safest, most effective opening of school this Fall. Superintendent Earnest requests everyone review the following list of guidelines SCS will implement to make the return to in-person, on-campus instruction as safe as possible for everyone. “This is a starting point and plans may be revised between now and August as SCS receives more information.”

SCS Guidelines
for returning to school in the Fall:

D The use of masks can be a challenge for some children and adults, so it will not be required. However, the wearing of masks will be encouraged for those who can. 

D Temperature checks will be conducted. Students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms or a temperature of 100.0+ will be isolated immediately and sent home. 

D All students and employees must stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms, tested positive, or had close contact with a person with COVID-19 within the last 14 days.

D For those who have been ill, health department guidelines will be followed for return to school/work.

D Frequent handwashing is encouraged and breaks will be scheduled for handwashing at the elementary level. We also recommend bringing individual hand sanitizer from home. 

D Cleaning/disinfecting of buildings, surfaces, and high-touch objects will be more frequent. Ventilation systems will be monitored for proper operation.

D Buses will be cleaned/disinfected after morning and afternoon routes.

D Schools will limit visitors; stagger lunch, playground, and class-change schedules

D Students will be discouraged from sharing computers, books, materials, supplies, or equipment, including devices and equipment used for athletics/PE.

D Water fountains will be shut off. Handless water bottle dispensers will stay on. Students are encouraged to bring a filled water bottle from home. 

Applications of interest for distance learning requested: Additionally, as part of Seminole County School’s re-opening plan, the system is seeking applications of interest from parents to declare their interest in a full-time, distance learning model. Parents interested in declaring the full-time distance learning model need to understand that there is a semester-long commitment for distance learning and changes to each option cannot occur until the next grading period. Interest applications for students in grades K-12 must be declared by 5:00 p.m. on July 24, 2020. Each declared interested application will be reviewed by a district committee. The online application will not guarantee enrollment.  In order for the full-time distance learning model to make at the K-5 level, minimum class sizes must be met. Interested parents should complete the interest application, which can be accessed through the following link: https://bit.ly/3ffK0Fq 

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