Columbia County makes changes to Return to School Plan

Columbia County

EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) — Public schools in Columbia County are expected to start on August 3rd, the date school leaders previously planned. However, there are some changes in the “Return to School Plan” before students and teachers return to the classrooms.

“Because there appears to be some increase in the spread of the virus, we improved our return to school plan,” said Dr. Sandra Carraway. “It adds that our middle and high school students and staff would be required to wear face coverings in certain environments.”

The Columbia County School Board voted to open on time for traditional school. The “Learn-from-Home” model will either start August 10th or 17th, depending on the grade level. More than 4535 students are electing the online option. Dr. Carraway says that means fewer students will be on the buses and in the buildings.

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“Then, we are taking other actions such as the board approved to buy ionization modules that go into our air conditioning units,” explained Dr. Carraway. “Every air condition units will have one of these, which will clean the air from dust particles and viruses.”

Many school districts in the area have decided to delay the start date of school. The Superintendent of Schools for Columbia County says she and board members thought about that but felt moving forward with starting school is the best move.

“Let’s let the teacher meet their children to form those relationships with them,” said Dr. Carraway. “That way, if we have to transition to an A/B model or a full-time online model, that relationship is already there.”

However, there is a Plan-B in place if COVID-19 cases in the area continue to surge.

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“So students would go to school Monday through Wednesday, learn-from-home Tuesday, Thursday and Friday,” explained Dr. Carraway. “Other students would come to school Tuesdays and Thursdays and learn from home on the other three days. Fridays would be a learn-from-home day for all students to give our teachers the proper time to prepare lessons.”

The next step for the school district is to install the ionization modules in every school. The first one is already in Grovetown High School. Dr. Carraway says it takes COVID-19 out of the air by 99.4%.

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