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
Blue Ridge, Ga. – Fannin County High School Principal Erik Cioffi will be leaving the Rebels for a new position as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Personnel with a school system in Massachusetts.
Cioffi submitted his resignation to the Fannin County School System (FCSS) to be effective August 28, 2020. The Board of Education is expected to accept this resignation at a special called meeting on July 23,2020.
“This move allows us to be closer to our immediate families in New England,” Cioffi said of the new position he will be filling in Massachusetts. “I was born and raised in Massachusetts so I will be returning home.”
Cioffi said in an email sent out to colleagues that his family will remain in Georgia to complete their senior year at Fannin County High School, but that all will be reunited upon graduation. He plans to visit frequently and attend events throughout the year.
The resignation date of August 28 will allow Cioffi to remain with the FCSS to help bring in the start of this unusual school year with new protocols in place due to Covid-19.
Cioffi acknowledged his intention to be an active member in restarting the school year : “Many protocols and procedures will be fine-tuned over the next couple of weeks as we seek guidance from the North Georgia Public Health Department and local leaders.”
“I want to “Thank you” for an amazing 11 years – I will reflect often on the successes and relationships that have been built and I truly believe the staff at FCHS is one of the best in the country,” Cioffi said to his colleagues adding, “Thank you for your efforts and dedication to the students of Fannin.”
The Fannin County School System has listed an anticipated job opening of High School Principal on their website (anticipated because Cioffi’s resignation is not finalized until the BOE holds an official vote).
The website states that the position is not an entry level leadership position and “a preferred applicant’s portfolio will highlight prior successful teaching- and leadership-related experiences, demonstrate effective communication skills, and prove one’s ability to lead.”
Applications can be filled out online, via the FCSS website. Interested individuals who qualify should ensure that a completed application is entered online (in Frontline) no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 31, 2020.