School Return Still in Flux, Waiting on Health Department Recommendations
The Troup County School Board held their regular March meeting at the LaGrange City Council Chambers in order to have the event broadcast on the web with the assistance of LGTV. For obvious reasons, the board previously discouraged public attendance and invited citizens to view and participate in the discussion over Facebook Live.
The main topic on everyone’s minds was when and if schools are to reopen. School Superintendent Brian Shumate noted that schools were originally closed for two weeks, which would have ended on March 27. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp later ordered them closed until the end of March, leaving three days between the closure and Spring Break. Now a decision must be made whether to return for those three days or keep the kids out for four continuous weeks.
“My first thought was, if it’s safe to go back to school and kids have been cooped up for two and a half weeks, why not let them come back for three days and get some nor- School Return Still in Flux, Waiting on Health Department Recommendations
malcy back in their lives,” said Shumate. “The other school of thought is that, if there is still uncertainty, why not just make it a four week break, with the current two weeks, the week before Spring Break, and then the week of Spring Break.”
School Board Chair Kirk Hancock noted that safety is his primary concern, but also reminded of the impact school closures have throughout the community.
“Safety is the number one issue. We’ll follow the guidelines of the governor and public health, but if safety is assured from those who are qualified to help us with that, we are keenly aware of the impact that not being in school has on the business community,” noted Hancock. “We know that when kids are at home it greatly complicates the ability of businesses to operate.”
Shumate advised that a decision will likely be made during a called board meeting late next week to give parents enough time to prepare.
“I don’t think we are ready to make a decision because there are too many unknowns at this point,” said Shumate.
In the meantime, meals are still being provided to students who need them and the second phase of educational resources is being prepared to roll out.
“We have 32 bus drivers out delivering to multiple bus stops around the county, as well as nine locations,” advised Shumate, noting they are feeding more than 1,800 kids each day.
“We are also going to up our game with electronic resources and make copies and deliver those,” he added. “These materials are going to be available on busses as they continue to deliver food.”
Assistant Superintendent Penny Johnson advised that after working with teachers, they are ready to implement Phase Two of instructional materials that are being sent out. The first phase of educational materials relied heavily on general education resources. The next phase will be more aligned with what students at each level are already learning in their classrooms.
The new instructional packets will be available online on Monday and printed copies are being sent out via buses starting on Tuesday.
Johnson says they are asking parents with internet access to get the materials online at troup.org and save the printed resources for families without internet access. She also noted that there is no need to print out the electronic materials, as it can be done entirely online.
Information about lunch locations and schedules is also available at troup.org. For parents with questions about how to obtain lunches or educational materials, the email address firstname.lastname@example.org is being actively monitored or you can call 706-812-7900.
The author of this article can be reached via email at info@troupcountynews. net.
Tommy Murphy Staff Writer