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Bibb Schools proposes shortening the 2020-21 school year

Students would report to school the day after Labor Day, and teachers would report back August 6 to prepare in-person and virtual lesson plans

MACON, Ga. — With the COVID-19 status updates changing weekly, Bibb County Superintendent Curtis Jones says everyone needs to come together to help make decisions for the upcoming school year.

"We need your input. We need your help. This is a community issue, not just a school issue," Jones said.

The district held public meetings to get feedback on returning to in-person instruction or continuing remote learning.

"The board said that didn't go as well as we thought it could have in the spring, [so] let's do all we can to make sure that, if that's what we do, we do it well, so let's consider opening after Labor Day," Jones said.

That would cut the school year down from 180 days to 163 for students. 

Teachers would report to school August 6, which allows extra time to prepare.

"We're putting the safety of our staff in place, because that gives them the opportunity to get back into the classroom, see what it looks like, get it organized, so when we do go to in-person instruction, teachers will be comfortable getting back into the classroom," Jones said.

This plan would cut out the two days of fall break in October, and shorten Thanksgiving break from five days to three days. 

Jones says their focus is on improving remote learning lesson plans

"We're going to have to do the very best that we can to make sure students are learning the priorities...standards, the power standards that we have in place, and so we're going to focus on those with our teachers during the month of August. The lesson plans I hope will be the very best that we've ever had," he said.

He encourages everyone to use the district's communication platform "Let's Talk" to give feedback for their instructional options.

"We will continue to refine the plan up through August 25, which is the date that I will make a decision on whether we will be going back after Labor Day either virtually or in-person," Jones said.

Christmas and Spring Break will stay the same, as well as the two days for teachers and three days off for students in February. The last day of school would be May 26.

For in-person return, they will enforce using masks to the maximum extent possible, move desks six feet apart, and look into having teachers transition to different classrooms instead of students.

The later start date will give them time to distribute new technology devices for students.

The board will come to a decision on the calendar on Thursday, July 16.

Jones will then announce in-person or remote plans two weeks before school starts.

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