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Parents and guardians of students enrolled in Grady County Schools have until this Friday, August 7 to decide whether their child or children will return to school in-person or will enroll in the system’s new Grady Online Academy of Learning Scholars (GOALS), according to Grady County School superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard.
Those who choose to return to the traditional school setting will have regular school hours, Monday through Friday, and safety procedures will be in place. School officials say social distancing, where possible, will be observed, meals will be served differently depending on the school, and large gatherings will be avoided.
The county’s transportation system will operate when school reopens next month, but officials encourage parents and guardians to transport children to school, if possible.
Use of facial masks is strongly recommended, but not mandated. Dr. Gilliard says that masks will be available to those who request one.
Parents and guardians are urged to consider their child’s independent study habits when considering the option of enrolling in GOALS.
Already, more than 700 of the county’s approximately 4,600 students have enrolled in virtual learning, according to Dr. Gilliard.
Students in grades 9-12 who enroll in GOALS will work independently through the system’s new Edmentum online curriculum. All advance placement and honors classes at Cairo High School will be taught by Cairo High School faculty members via Google Classroom.
Attendance will be monitored daily and suggested schedules will be provided. According to school officials, there will be required due dates for school work, but students will have a flexible school work schedule.
Those who enroll in GOALS must commit to a minimum of one semester and must have reliable internet service as well as access to a computer.
For students in kindergarten through eighth grade who enroll in GOALS, parents and guardians must agree to serve as home learning coaches. Additional resources and support will be provided by assigned teams of local teachers via Google Classroom, but the day-to-day instruction will taught by local teachers through Edmentum’s platform.
K-8 students will be offered optional weekly “check-in” sessions and daily attendance will be monitored. The school work schedule will be flexible, but suggested schedules will be provided. Just as with the older students, there will be required due dates for school work to be completed.
Younger students enrolling in GOALS only have to commit to a one nine-week grading period for virtual learning.
An orientation for all students enrolling in GOALS will be held and details will be announced soon.
The deadline to apply for the K-8 students is also this Friday.
The Grady County School System has purchased laptops and tablets for all students, but the anticipated delivery date is not until October.
In the event schools are ordered closed, in-person school students will transition to virtual learning with daily online instruction via Google Classroom with their regular classroom teachers. GOALS students would continue with their remote learning with no disruption or changes.
Grady County Schools have been awarded 20 WiFi transmitters to provide for additional WiFi hotspots that will be installed throughout the county.
Georgia schools will benefit from $6 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to boost internet connectivity in the state.
“We are working with local churches to partner with them in establishing multiple hotspots throughout the county,” Dr. Gilliard said.
Applications for GOALS can be made via the system’s website, grady.k12.ga.us.
The school system is moving forward with plans to reopen schools on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Teachers reported to work last Friday, July 31, for one day of professional development and will report back to work on Aug. 17.
“I have said it previously and I likely will continue to say it, but the key to this school year will be our ability to be flexible. No one knows what the future holds, but we must be flexible in order to navigate these uncharted waters,” Dr. Gilliard said.