Here’s what school could look like in Cherokee County in the fall

The Cherokee County School District isn’t set to make a final decision on what school will look like for students in the fall, but Superintendent Brian Hightower laid out a few options in a letter to parents recently.

The school system is considering three options at this point and is asking parents to weigh in on what they would prefer for their child.

The options are below:

•    Opening on Aug. 3 in-person, at-school instruction with additional, reasonable safety measures;

•    Opening on Aug. 3 online with a more rigorous version of Digital Learning Days remote instruction; or,

•    Opening on Aug. 3 with both options in place.  Parents would choose one option for their child. 

Hightower says that while he is seeking parent input on what is best for each family, his final decision will be based on public health conditions in Cherokee County and any mandates issued between now and Aug. 3 by the state and federal government or health officials.

While the exact format for school hasn’t been determined, school staff members have been busy preparing facilities by installing transparent plastic partitions in front offices and cafeterias, stocking classrooms with hand sanitizer and scheduling additional custodians who will follow expanded practices for disinfecting schools.

The school system is re-thinking assemblies and lunch periods in an effort to reduce the number of children gathered in one place at the same time.

Hightower also addressed concerns about the standards the school system would have for online learning.

“If we implement distance learning, on its own or as an option with in-person school reopening, the workload and expectations would be significantly higher,” Hightower said. “Online class students would be assigned a daily workload comparable to their classmates attending classes in person at a school. Online class teachers would be online for the entirety of the regular school day, with at least one Microsoft Teams call for real-time instruction and dialogue every day. Assignments completed by online class students would be held to the same grading standards as if they were working in our classrooms.”

If online classes are offered, parents would be required to declare their intent to enroll in online classes by July 17.

Parents can weigh in on which of the three options they would like to see by clicking here.

As of Sunday, Cherokee County had 1,099 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and had 39 reported deaths from the virus.

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