Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Fannin County School System (FCSS) has released more details about reopening plans for students opting to attend in-person schooling during the 2020-21 school year.
Assistant Superintendent of Achievement and Governance, Sarah Rigdon, updated the Board of Education (BOE) on the latest decisions to reopen Fannin County’s Schools in August.
“We are revising our plans somewhat,” Rigdon said of the ever changing guidelines related to Covid-19, “because we want to also be good stewards and good partners with our governor in trying to keep everyone in Georgia safe and healthy.”
Rigdon referenced Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s “Four for Four” plan, where Kemp is urging Georgians to follow these four guidelines for four weeks:
- Wear a mask when out in public or when you cannot keep distance inside.
- Practice physical distancing – six feet from those you don’t live with.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds several times throughout the day with soap and warm water.
- Follow the executive order and heed the guidance provided by public health officials.
According to Kemp, if Georgians commit to these four things, “we can make incredible progress in the fight against Covid-19”.
With the “Four for Four” plan in mind, the school system has outlined a few new procedures for school students this year.
Rigdon gave an update for students who will be riding school buses this year. The plan for buses was previously still in the works when the initial reopening update was given at the BOE’s July 9th meeting.
After consulting with medical professionals, school and district leaders, the FCSS has decided that masks will be required for all students riding buses.
Disposable masks will be available to students riding buses as well as hand sanitizer to be used before boarding the bus.
“That is a requirement, not an encouragement or suggestion,” Rigdon emphasized of the decision for riders to be required to wear a mask.
Social distancing is just not possible for students on buses and Rigdon stated of preventing person-to-person spread of Covid-19, “The best defense against that is going to be masking up.”
Students may also receive assigned seating on buses.
FCSS is still not making masks a requirement for students and staff inside school buildings, but are highly encouraging the mask wearing practice.
The district received a donation of cloth masks from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and will offer all students who are attending face-to-face school one of these masks.
For parents, guardians and visitors to any of the school campuses, a mask or face covering will be required along with a symptom check before entering any buildings.
Employees of the FCSS will participate in Covid-19 related training. The training will consist of guidance about “best practices and instances when face coverings will be required”.
This specific situational guidance and training will be reviewed by the Department of Public Health.
Lastly, school specific plans for safely reopening are still being worked out among the individual schools. Staff will be given this information before returning on August 3 and parents/guardians will be given this information prior to August 7.
“The guidance is constantly updated,” Rigdon spoke about the individual schools’ finalizing plans and that these plans could still change as the district receives new information.
Featured Image Courtesy of Fannin County School System