The Fulton County school board considered reopening plans at a called meeting Monday. The district also changed its calendar, which will give officials more time to prepare for the start of the school year.
The new calendar moves the first day of school from August 10 to August 17. That will give staff time to clean buildings and buses and prepare their classrooms for social distancing. Pre-K and kindergarten students will be required to come in-person.
Students in grades 1-12 will have the option to learn remotely this fall, but officials say in-person classes are more effective.
“We’re going to do the very best that we possibly can with individual remote [learning], but it is not, by its nature, the same depth or personal relationship, or in some cases quality as traditional instruction,” said Fulton County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney.
For students who do return to school, Fulton says there will be hand sanitizing stations throughout their school buildings. Employees will be required to wear masks. The district says it expects students riding buses to wear them too. Students will be ‘strongly encouraged’ to wear masks in school buildings, but it won’t be required.
The district says it will make sure students who choose remote learning have digital devices and internet access.
Officials say these initial plans could change as more information emerges about the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re in a changing world,” said Fulton County School Board President Julia Bernath. “We have a plan for right now, and that plan may continue to change and probably will, so we just ask everyone’s indulgence and patience as we move forward.”