Baldwin County School Superintendent Dr. Noris Price penned an open letter to families and community members this week to let everyone know where the local public school system is with plans for the 2020-21 academic year.
While those plans are still in development, there are three options on the table — have students return for normal instruction, create a hybrid between in-person and distance learning, or resume full-time online learning the way the school year ended once schools were closed due to COVID-19.
“While there is nothing more I would rather do than have our students and staff return to normal activities, we must keep the safety of our students and staff as our top priority,” Price said in her letter.
A lot of work will be done over the next couple weeks since the originally planned start of next term, which is Aug. 3, is now only a little more than a month away. The Georgia Department of Education earlier this month provided a roadmap for schools to use when deciding how best to resume operations, but the decision is ultimately being left up to the districts themselves. Dr. Price has created a local task force made up of school district staff and community members that will help develop guidance for reopening public school facilities.
“Through this collaboration, we hope to develop a plan(s) to ensure a safe and successful reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year,” said the superintendent.
Although the first day of school is scheduled for Aug. 3, Price said different models that would change that start date could be elected.
Price is also seeking the input of the public in a couple of ways. Along with her letter published Wednesday was a survey where parents could express — or not express — any concerns with allowing kids back on campuses. A link to the survey can be found on the Baldwin County School District’s Facebook page.
In addition to the survey, virtual town hall meetings have been slated for Monday and Tuesday that will be accessible via Zoom or Facebook Live. They are scheduled for Monday, June 29, at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 30, at 12 noon and again at 5:30 p.m. Check the school district’s social media channels for links to the meetings.
Near the end of Price’s lengthy letter she states that, “all suggestions and recommendations will be reviewed,” and a draft plan will be presented to the school board at its Tuesday, July 7 meeting and shared with the public by July 10.
“No matter how we reopen schools, our amazing faculty and staff will continue to focus on the health and well-being of students and families,” the superintendent said. “As we explore potential options, we will continue to seek guidance from the Georgia Department of Education, the Centers for Disease Control and the Georgia Department of Public Health.”