The News: After just one week in school, Floyd County Schools announced the school system will be moving to a remote-only model effective at the end of class Friday. The school district plans to restart in-person learning Sept. 8.
The Reason: According to the school district, the reason for this change stems from a change in the way the district has to classify teachers and not due to a large number of COVID-19 infections. The school district currently has more than 10 positive coronavirus tests and more than 350 students and employees in quarantine. However, the closure is more related to what to do if a teacher is exposed to the virus.
Essential vs. Non-Essential: The school district says it received guidance from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s office recommending that teachers not be considered “critical infrastructure workers.” If teachers were designated as critical infrastructure workers, they would have been exempt from quarantine rules, meaning if they were exposed to the virus but didn’t test positive yet, they could still be in the classroom.
Without that designation, teachers would need to be quarantined for two weeks if they came in contact with a student who tested positive.
What the school district has to say: You can read the letter Floyd County Schools sent to parents below.
Good afternoon Floyd County families,
When we announced plans to reopen schools with options of in-person learning and virtual learning at home, we made clear the challenges that came along with this choice for our families.
With a commitment from the majority of our students’ families to return to school in-person, we opened our doors on August 13, 2020, and welcomed more than 8,000 students back for in-person learning, reconnecting with teachers and staff and friends, and a sense of normalcy absent for five long months.
Since we’ve reopened, and as of this morning, there have been more than 10 positive COVID-19 tests confirmed among our students and staff, which have led us to mandate two-week quarantines for over 350 students and employees. We are not hesitating to quarantine students and staff who have had possible exposure – even if the positive test was prompted by possible exposure rather than symptoms, as all positive cases can lead to the infection of others. Our transparency to our community is far beyond any requirements by the Department of Public Health (DPH), but we believe our community benefits from our longstanding commitment to transparency.
We are temporarily closing in-person learning to all Floyd County Schools effective at the end of classes tomorrow (August 21, 2020). It is our hope to restart in-person classes at all of our schools on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Please know that this change in scenarios for ALL schools is not due to a large increase in positive COVID-19 cases, but instead, because of new guidance from the governor’s office forcing FCS to change the status of essential workers.
We recognize this decision still may create hardships for FCS families and is disappointing for students who want to be at school for in-person learning. This decision was not made lightly; it was made with the support of School Board Members, and was determined, as all of our quarantine decisions are made, in consideration with the DPH. At no time, has FCS knowingly allowed positive cases in our schools.
What does this mean for FCS students? All FCS in-person students will stay home from school until the scheduled reopening on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. We ask for students and their parents to be patient, as they were in the spring. Teachers will report to school on Monday, August 24, 2020, to begin providing instruction to their students remotely. The closure has no effect on FCS students already enrolled in FCS Virtual Academy. Students who need to pick up medication or other items that they must have during the next two weeks should call the school’s front office to make an appointment. Child nutrition will make school meals will be available to all. Students will be charged for meals based on their current eligibility. Extracurricular athletic activities will continue after school; this exception is due to the very limited size of these groups and additional safety measures in place (such as temperature checks), but the continuation of athletics will be closely monitored for possible closure.
We are delivering on our promise to offer parents a choice that includes in-person schools. This would not have happened without an incredible amount of work and faith by our dedicated teachers and staff. We would not have been able to reopen without the trust of our students and parents, and we are working to maintain that trust through our transparency in reporting and notifications.
Parents/guardians should notify the school principal if they or their child develops multiple symptoms and/or a positive test result during the next two weeks. Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever of 100.4 or higher, new or persistent cough, headache, loss of taste or smell, fatigue, and/or stomach issues (diarrhea).
The weekly status report will continue to be updated every Thursday afternoon. If your child is not experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms, please check your student email or contact the school regarding learning opportunities beginning Monday, August 24, 2020.
We appreciate your continued support in keeping the health and safety of our staff and students our top priority!