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The Grady County School System will be surveying system employees, parents and guardians over the next three weeks to determine the number of those who have concerns about returning to school if the county’s public schools are able to open Aug. 3.
Grady County school superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard reported to the school board Tuesday night that the system has been awarded a $3,500 grant from the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education that will be used to finance the survey.
According to Dr. Gilliard, surveys will be mailed to all school system personnel and parents and guardians of all students enrolled in the system. The survey packets will include a stamped envelope to return the survey. Those who do not respond will be contacted by telephone and then if no response the school system will seek to make contact physically.
“We want to know day one who and how many will not be returning. If it turns out to be a large number, we can have it lined up for virtual learning,” Dr. Gilliard said.
As an example, he said if 30 first graders countywide are not planning to return to school, a single teacher could be selected to teach all of those students virtually.
“I understand if educators don’t feel comfortable coming back. If ever there was an essential employee it is our teachers,” board member Jeff Worsham said.
Superintendent Gilliard said that some staff members also may have underlying health conditions that could cause concern for them returning to school. “They may become our virtual teachers,” he said.
“We would hate to lose those years of knowledge,” board Vice Chairman Derrick Majors said.
Superintendent Gilliard also discussed with the board some of the options that are being considered for reopening schools, which were shuttered in March.
Dr. Gilliard said until the number of positive cases of COVID-19 ceases to increase over a 14-day period, it is unlikely schools can reopen on time. Should cases continue to rise, Dr. Gilliard told the board his recommendation would be to postpone reopening a week to 10 days and to revise the 2020-2021 school calendar.