State releases guidelines for schools to follow when reopening

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The Georgia Department of Education released guidelines Monday to help local districts begin thinking about how to safely re-open schools later this year. A state committee will also be working to provide resources for districts to use in planning and implementing the changes. “The guidelines...

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The Georgia Department of Education released guidelines Monday to help local districts begin thinking about how to safely re-open schools later this year. A state committee will also be working to provide resources for districts to use in planning and implementing the changes.

“The guidelines are intended to ensure the safety of students, staff and families while remaining flexible, responsive and achievable in the K-12 setting,” Camden County Schools said in a statement Monday. “They are guidelines, not mandates, and are adaptive to multiple scenarios. School districts will review the guidance in consultation with their local public health departments and choose which methods to adopt.”

Camden has not detailed its specific plans yet.

The guidelines include a decision tree and suggestions about what actions to take if there’s substantial community spread, minimal to moderate spread or low to no spread, such as encouraging good hygiene and establishing a protocol to follow if a student or staff member has symptoms.

The decision tree lays out three possible options for learning with minimal/moderate spread: in-person like usual, a hybrid mix with alternating schedules and distance learning or full distance learning. With low to no spread, school could be held in-person and focus on prevention.

Other suggestions include providing hand sanitizer, allowing staff and students to wear masks when in a large group, cleaning high touch surfaces, staggering class changes, leaving space between students in lines and at meals, providing PPE to vulnerable students and staff and allowing vulnerable students to complete their work virtually.

The full guidelines are available online at gadoe.org/k12recovery.