Bulloch County Schools officials have announced two online forums – one Thursday at 9 a.m. and another Monday at 3 p.m. – for community input on how and when to start school with COVID-19 still a concern both locally and worldwide.
As of last Thursday evening, the Board of Education tabled a motion from two of its members to delay the start of the 2020-21 school year from the long-planned Aug. 3 first day of classes to Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day. Another board then member suggested an unspecified shorter delay, and Monday night’s media release mentioned a possible two-week, rather than a full month’s, postponement.
“The plan is for all students to resume school using the school district's virtual learning program,” states the release provided by Hayley Greene, the school system’s public relations director. “It is possible that we will experience a delayed start (potentially August 17) to allow schools time to prepare for this delivery method.”
Last week, Superintendent of Schools Charles Wilson and assistant superintendents presented plans which, if community spread of the coronavirus were in the “green,” low or no spread, or “yellow,” minimal or moderate spread, categories would give parents a choice. Students could return to their assigned schools for face-to-face classes with teachers or, instead, choose “virtual options” for online classes provided by various contracted platforms for kindergarten through 12th grade at school system expense.
But on Friday, Bulloch County Public Safety and Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Wynn revealed that the Georgia Department of Public Health had placed Bulloch County in the category of “substantial spread” of the coronavirus, the “red” zone. The school system’s plans already called for keeping buildings closed and providing distance-learning for all students if the concern was raised to that level.
“When Bulloch County is reclassified to a lower spread category, the school district will allow students (those who choose to do so) to return to a traditional, face-to-face school setting,” Greene wrote in Monday’s release announcing the forums.
The school system wants community feedback, Greene said. So Superintendent Wilson host the two livestreamed sessions to address concerns and answer questions. These will be aired online at www.bullochschools.org/boardlive, at these times and dates:
Thursday at 9 a.m., and
Monday, July 6, at 3 p.m.
There are two ways to submit questions and concerns for these sessions:
Submit questions via this online form https://bit.ly/38c81dV which is available in English and Spanish; or
Call (912) 212-8512 to submit questions if you do not have access to the Internet. Language Line translation services are available for any language, Greene wrote.
Questions to be addressed during the Thursday morning session should be submitted before noon Wednesday.
Questions for the Monday afternoon session should be submitted prior to midnight Sunday, July 5.
Afterwards, questions from the discussions will be added to the school district’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions webpage, www.bullochschools.org/FAQBulloch.