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Bibb Schools Superintendent speaks on decision to start school year with online learning

The first 8 weeks of the school year will be held online, and Thursday's decision led to many questions from parents

MACON, Ga. — On Thursday, Bibb County Schools made the decision to start school fully online because of the rise of coronavirus cases in the county. Under the current plan, students would learn online for the first eight weeks after Labor day. 

Superintendent Curtis Jones spoke Friday about what led him and the board to make that choice. 

"Being confident that our healthcare officials in the middle Georgia area were providing good information, so we are very confident that the North Central Health District is providing information on hospitalizations, the number of beds they have available, about the number of cases identified, how many have been positive...so I felt confident that we had good information so that we can make the decision about the spread of COVID-19 within this area," said Jones.

He also spoke about the need for technology and internet services for those in the county who do not have access to it. 

"So we learned a lot from our experience in the spring, our board then allowed us to purchase new computers so we would have one computer available for every student, we call that a one to one initiative, a lot of those devices won't get here until the middle end of October, between now and then we are going to use the devices that we have, we currently have about 20 thousand students, and we have about 13 thousand devices, so we have about 7  thousand people we think that have computers that will work with our network, and so we are going to asking them to use them use them. Those that do they will be rewarded, because when the new computers come in, they will be the first to get those brand-new computer that we have, Two we have a lot of what we call hot spots, so that people who do not have concentricity will be able to connect to internet, and talk to their teacher in the classroom teaching."

He also spoke about technology distribution, hot spots and WiFi buses to provide internet services to those who do not have access.

When it comes to parents who work full-time jobs Jones says the district is thinking about that as well.

"One we are trying to model for employers what we think it is best, so we have deiced for our employees that have children enrolled in our school system they can bring their children to school, in fact bring them to work with them, we are trying to provide a place and a way so we can help manage them, not everybody can do that, not every work space has that capability, but employers have to recognize we are in this together and we need their help, we can't solve that problem for everyone, two we decided to announce early what we were doing so people had more time to respond to this, three I have received some lets talks from people recently who say they are essential and can we try and figure out something to do for them because they have to go to work, and so we are going to look at something like that as well," Jones said.  

He says local churches have said they will provide a space for kids to learn if their parents are working.

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