Richmond County schools begin phased reopening September 8th


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – School is going start September 8 for some Richmond County students while others will begin class on September 10.

“Two weeks ago, the superintendent was not comfortable making a recommendation for us to open September 8. So instead of delaying the start of school at that point, we said we’ll come back in two weeks. We’ll look at the change in the data and at that point we’ll make a decision,” said Jimmy Atkins, President of the Richmond County School Board.

Positive COVID-19 case numbers are looking better with a sharp decline in Richmond County.

“We feel very comfortable moving forward with starting pre-K through fifth on September 8. Along with K-8,” said Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw.

That start includes face to face and online learning. Sixth through 12th graders will start school either in-person or virtually on Thursday, September 10. Ninety-five employees with Richmond County schools have tested positive for COVID-19. Results from a school system survey show that 15% of those teachers who responded ‘feel very uncomfortable’ with their teaching assignment.

“If you’re in that high-risk category, you know, cancer survivor, diabetic, over a certain age, you have a reason to be concerned. And so I really feel Dr. Bradshaw and his staff will work with those individuals to limit face to face,” said Atkins.

If a COVID-19 outbreak were to happen, school closure is based on a 10% absentee rate. Classroom closure would be based on the point of contact and cleaning requirements. Students are required to wear a face mask on the bus, in the hallways, and when it’s hard to practice social distancing.

Atkins added, “If they’re safe, totally adhering to all the other rules, they should not need to wear the mask.”

While more than 50% of students will be learning from home, Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw says the goal is to become a one to one school system where every student will have their own computer device.

“All of our parents have not requested a computer but the ones that have requested we’ve tried to meet that demand,” explained Dr. Bradshaw.

Board members will meet again on September 29 for an update about online and face to face instruction.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Richmond County Schools will begin a phased reopening plan on September 8th.

Below is the phased reopening plan:

  • September 8 –Begin Online and F2F Instruction for PreK-5 and K-8 schools
  • September 10 –Begin Online and F2F Instruction for Grades 6-12
  • September 29– Called BOE Meeting for F2F and Online Instruction Update

“We are ready. Over the past month, our entire team has done the work to prepare for our students. Our teachers have trained for the virtual environment and for face to face instruction in the COVID environment. We have trained our bus drivers, nutrition staff, counselors, custodians, and  staff to support our students safely.”  

Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw

In order for Richmond County Schools to remain open, Dr. Bradshaw provided the following guidelines:

  • Follow Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Department of Public Health guidelines and recommendations.
  • Monitor staff and student daily attendance.
  • Implement closure procedures:
    • School closure based on 10% absentee rate.
    • Classroom closure based on positive COVID-19 contact and cleaning requirements.
    • Communicate exposure with parents and staff using letters.
  • Assess community spread data
  • Monitor GHSA guidance and scheduled high school athletic events.
  • Delay Middle School sports while evaluating high school athletics.

Students are required to wear masks while on buses, in hallways or other transitions where social distancing can be hard to achieve.

Protocol for a safer school environment will include assigned seating in classrooms and buses. Parents are asked to screen their children and to keep their child home if sick.

Richmond County Schools are having open house for virtual and face to face students. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school.

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