UPDATE: The deadline to register for the online learning academy is 5 p.m. on Friday. To register, visit https://www.rcboe.org/onlineacademy.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) — Some school districts have already opened their doors to start the year this week, while others are still gearing up.
The Richmond County School Board wrapped up another meeting with some updates on plans for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.
“The trajectory is still going up, in fact we are now considered in the red. We hope that in the next two weeks we will see a drop,” said Kenneth Bradshaw, superintendent of schools for Richmond County.
September 8 will remain the back-to-school date, and that is unlikely to change. The school end date will not change.
Even if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, this will be the start date for virtual and traditional learning. Originally, school officials planned to further delay the start date in the event of higher numbers.
The district currently has more than 1,600 students enrolled in the online academy, far fewer than originally anticipated.
“We were initially planning to plan about a third online, which was still a maximum – which would have been around 10,000 students,” Bradshaw said.
And the numbers continue to rise as the district has extended late registration until August 7. This decision gives parents more time to make a decision, but less time for the district to plan.
“We really need to close the window at some point so we can start planning the exact number of virtual students versus face-to-face so we can prepare for both models,” Bradshaw explained.
Once parents have committed to making a decision for online or traditional learning, the only way to change it is for parents to submit a hardship waiver.
The online curriculum will now be “school-based” instead of “district-based,” so schools will have more responsibility than expected for virtual learning. Virtual learning should feel like two hours of instruction with teachers and homework for the rest of the day.
But as the district continues its planning, officials say the goal remains to provide quality education.
“It will be a challenge. But we believe we have the right staff, the right staff that once we get our students back face-to-face or even if we have to continue in a virtual model, we will be ready,” said said Bradshaw.
Meal delivery for students will begin on August 7. Buses will deliver to certain areas and schools will be pick-up areas.
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