HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — The Houston County School District will offer both remote learning and in person instruction this fall, and many of you have reached out to us asking for more information on how the district plans to handle both options.
Pepper Baker had a virtual conversation with Superintendent Mark Scott about how the district plans to enforce guidelines to keep everyone safe.
Q: With in-person, a lot of concerns are about how that will work with safety guidelines and everything, so how do you all think you'll enforce that in the buildings if the students choose to go back to in-person?
"We've been in constant conversation with regard to those measures, and looking at class changes staying at a minimum and looking at one of the expectations that we have is to have a seating chart so we know who students are in close proximity to. As far as masks go, right now we're strongly encouraging masks, especially during those transition times. At this point, we're not mandating those masks. A big part of the start of school will be talking with our students and educating them on the advantages to proper hygiene and wearing a mask and social distancing and making sure they understand all the protocols that we've established in our buildings and that they feel safe," Scott said.
Q: How do you all do plan to keep those employees who will return to those in-person environments safe?
"Sanitation spray will be in every classroom, those sanitation kits and PPE products will be available in every classroom. You certainly don't want to force a person into something they're not comfortable with, so that's just going to be something that we're going to have to work individually with, our employees on. Any of our people who have underlying health conditions we will work closely with them to try to mitigate any concerns that they have to limit their exposure to any risk," Scott said.
Q: Students who continue remote learning from home, what is the situation with the extracurriculars and eligibility for graduation awards?
"The only time that this would impact a student would that this would impact a student would be if they had already been off of campus for two years or four semesters then they couldn't miss another four semesters// For extracurricular activities, we are not allowing those people to participate. For one, it's hard to imagine parents don't feel comfortable with them coming to school but them want them to interact with a cohort that are coming from all different areas of the school, possibly exposing them to other cohorts," Scott said.
Scott says they're going to try to keep remote learning teachers and in-person teachers working separately, so they won't have to prepare lesson plans for both.
Houston County Schools start back August 4th. Teachers will head back July 28th.
Scott says their plans may change based on the state's weekly COVID-19 status updates.
He encourages people to attend their next board meeting on July 21st.
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