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Grady County students will get a few extra days of summer vacation if the local board of education approves a change in the school calendar that Dr. Kermit Gilliard is expected to request next week.
Dr. Gilliard, superintendent of the Grady County School System, says he will ask to delay the start of school for students by four days so teachers can have time for professional development classes on blended learning.
That means students would start the school year on Friday, Aug. 7, instead of on the original date of Monday, Aug. 3.
Teachers would use that time to learn best practices of teaching in both online and traditional classroom settings should schools have to be closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, even Aug. 7 isn’t chiseled in stone as the first day of school, according to Dr. Gilliard.
“Plans could change. If our numbers continue to go up, we will either delay the start for students or consider a split schedule where we have half the students on Monday/Tuesday and the other half on Thursday/Friday. Wednesday would be a virtual/packet day,” says Dr. Gilliard. “We do not want to go this route, but it could prove to be the best for students.”
Dr. Gilliard says he will make a decision about whether to either delay the opening of schools or close them mid-stream based on information and guidance from officials with state and district public health, Georgia Department of Education, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the last seven days, at least 45 more Grady County residents have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Meanwhile, the school system is mailing a survey this week to parents to gather their thoughts about schooling during a pandemic. The short survey gives parents a range of school options to select as their preference for the Fall Semester. It also seeks information about a child’s internet and computer access, and transportation needs. Parents are also asked to share their ideas.
Parents will be asked to drop the already stamped survey back in the mail so county education leaders can make informed decisions about the upcoming school year.
The Grady County Board of Education will take up the superintendent’s recommended school reopening plan at its July meeting next Tuesday, July 14 beginning at 6 p.m. The board will also meet at 5 p.m. next Tuesday for a budget workshop.