From the Superintendent
July 14, 2020
Dear Parents & Guardians,
As there continues to be concerns and questions related to the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, we want to assure you our first priority is the safety and health of all students and staff. We will continue working closely with the Whitfield County Health Department to determine the severity of COVID-19 in our community. We understand the challenges the novel Coronavirus brings and have plans in place to continue learning outside the classroom should the severity in our county rise. As of right now, all Whitfield County schools will operate under District Reopening Consideration #1, face-to-face instruction, beginning Monday, August 31.
Under District Reopening Consideration #1, traditional instruction will be paired with in-class virtual learning. This way, students may become familiar with working online should face-to-face instruction be replaced entirely by virtual learning at a later date.
All elementary and middle school students will attend school in person five days a week. Due to the large number of students in each high school and the number of transitions required, social distancing is nearly impossible; therefore, each high school will assign students to a cohort in order to allow for smaller class sizes. Each cohort will physically attend school two days a week and will participate in online learning the remainder of the week. Based on specific needs, some special population high school students will physically attend school five days a week.
Masks will be strongly encouraged for all students and staff when in common areas and when social distancing is not possible. At this time, we will not allow visitors in our school buildings and will have no field trips, unless approved by the superintendent. Traditional water fountains will not be available; however, students may bring their own water bottles and can refill them throughout the day. We will strongly encourage students and staff to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Hand sanitizer will be available, but students are encouraged to bring hand sanitizer from home. Common areas and frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned often. In addition, enhanced cleaning to combat the COVID-19 virus will take place in each building.
Parents and guardians, please do not send your child(ren) to school sick or with fevers. Each homeroom teacher will conduct a daily visual screening of students. If any students look flushed or feverish, they will have their temperatures taken. If the temperature is 100.4 degrees or above, the student will be provided a mask, isolated and parents will be asked to pick the student up from school. We ask that all parents and guardians who are notified of a sick child promptly make arrangements to pick their child up in order to protect the safety of all students and staff.
We understand that under the current circumstances many parents do not wish to send their child(ren) to school for face-to-face instruction. For these students, virtual learning will be available for all grades; however, you must apply and get approved for your child to participate. Keep in mind, a requirement to participate in virtual learning is having the proper equipment (i.e. high-speed internet and an internet-ready device). Virtual learning is not recommended for students who lack good study habits and are not self motivated. Attendance and participation is mandatory and assignments will be graded for accuracy and completion.
To apply for virtual learning, visit www.wcsga.net/virtual-learning. The deadline to enroll in virtual learning is Monday, August 3, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. The educational delivery model chosen (face-to-face or virtual) will be for the duration of the first nine weeks for elementary school students (August 31 through October 28). the duration of the first 12 weeks for middle school students (August 31 through November 15), and the entire first semester high school students (August 31 through January 19).
We encourage our families to frequently visit the district webpage at www.wcsga.net and follow our social media for up-to-date, accurate information. Thank you for your continued support, understanding and patience as we navigate these unprecedented times together. We are One Whitfield!
Dr. Judy Gilreath
Whitfield County Schools