AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — The 2020-2021 school year has officially begun in Richmond County. Students in schools K-5 and K-8 began class Tuesday. Those in grades 6 through 12 will start Thursday.
It’s been nearly six months since students returned to campus. In that time, the school system worked on a plan to keep children and staff safe if they opted for in-person learning.
NewsChannel 6 got an inside look at operations at Bayvale Elementary School. Signs and arrows are in place to keep children spread out. Facial coverings are required, and lunch times are staggered.
“It was a blessing that we had this time to prepare our kids to return to school,” said Patsy Scott, a Board of Education trustee. “Based on what I’ve seen today, I think our teachers are prepared, and our students are prepared and looking forward.”
Not all students returned to campus Tuesday. Many parents opted for virtual learning, meaning their children will take online lessons from home. In a few weeks, the school system will send more than a dozen buses to rural areas so students have WIFI.
“We have a robust virtual experience for our students,” said Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw, the Richmond County Superintendent of Schools. “We have about 14 buses that we’re going to dispatch out to the communities.”
There are still concerns about how schools will respond if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19. Scott tells NewsChannel 6 the Richmond County School System will set up a dashboard on its website informing parents of how many cases are at each school.
“Parents will be notified online of the process we will use,” said Scott. “We’ll do that daily.”
With sights now set on the future, Dr. Bradshaw says it’s going to take parents, schools and the Richmond County School System to work together to have a safe and successful school year.
“Let’s collaborate,” emphasized Bradshaw. “Let’s increase communication like we’ve never done before.”