On Monday, July 20th, the Barrow County Board of Education held a called meeting to discuss our school reopening plan and potentially changing the school calendar. The district cannot make any decisions regarding a proposed new start date (or subsequent calendar changes) without board approval.
Through much discussion and deliberation, the Board members voted to modify the 2020-21 student calendar and delay the first day of school for students. You can review the updated calendar here.
- Students’ first day of in-person and online distance learning will now be Monday, August 17th.
- With the approved calendar change, fall break was modified. We understand that families may have already made travel plans. We will work to ensure students are not unduly penalized because of the change.
- Teachers and staff will report for preplanning as scheduled on Monday, July 27th. They will have 10 days of professional development that will focus on digital instruction and planning, as well as how to support our students’ social and emotional needs.
Virtual open houses scheduled for next week will be replaced with orientation for both in-person and distance learners.
- During the week of August 10-14th, students attending school in-person will be asked to participate in orientation. Orientation will allow students (along with one parent) to come to their school in small, organized groups to meet their teachers, see their classrooms, and participate in a short health and safety training. The orientation schedule will be shared in the following weeks with more details.
- Students participating in our Distance Learning Program will also participate in a digital orientation the week of August 10-14th. More details will be emailed to students and their families prior to the orientation date.
BCSS is proceeding with a delayed student start date for a number of reasons. By offering families the choice between in-person and online learning, schools are required to make significant adjustments with our teachers in their master class schedule, which takes time. In addition, there are delays from our vendors that are supplying cleaning products and technology items needed to reopen school. Finally, we want to ensure that our teachers are well prepared for instruction this year. While we hope schools can remain open all year, there is a possibility that we will need to close some or all school buildings again due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. We want teachers to have ample professional development with online teaching to maintain the highest level of instruction if that happens.
We understand that the uncertainty and changes for returning to school have been extremely stressful for our families and our staff. While our decisions cannot make everyone happy, we are doing everything we can to offer options to our students and provide safe environments for everyone. We evaluate every decision to determine the risk level and how best to keep our students and staff as healthy and safe as possible.
As you know, the situation is very fluid, and decisions are subject to change based on new information we are receiving daily.