Putnam County parents who responded to a school system survey this month want their children back in schools.
“About 88 percent of the parents have said they want their kids back in school, Director Of Schools Corby King said. “We had a little over 6,000 responses, which is unheard of. And so we’re still working to provide an option for those who want to be in school and an option for remote learning for those who wish to remain remote.”
Putnam County’s first full day of school scheduled for Monday, August 3. King said he wants to release details to parents on how the school year will work the week of July 13.
“So parents know and then you can make that final decision for your family, once you see our plans, what they are,” King said.
If parents choose remote learning, they can expect a much different experience from the spring shutdown.
“There will be expectations for students to log-in and communicate with teachers on a daily basis,” King said. “What we’re looking at in the plan right now is that if you have an eight o’clock math class or an eight o’clock English class that you would log in and communicate with your teacher during that time, just like you were in school. There will be grading expectations, expectations to submit the work and receive that work back. So those are the type things we’re looking at. It will be very different than what we had in the spring.”
King said the most often-asked question right now from parents concerns masks. He said many parents are concerned that students will be forced to wear a mask all day. King said those kinds of decisions have not been made.
The school system continues to watch guidelines and suggested practices from the CDC and the state. However, King said some things will be impractical in certain situations. Take social distancing in classrooms, for example.
“I mean, that is so difficult, because if we were, you know, normal classes, we don’t have classrooms large enough to hold 30, 35 students in a middle or high school where we could sit students six feet apart,” King said. “So there are some things in the safety guidelines that are, if we’re going to be in school and have normal school, that are just not something we can follow. It’s not not reasonable.”
“We will space as much as we can. We will distance as much as we can.”
King said he does not support the idea of staggered days where half the students come to school one day and the other half come the next day. “That’s not conducive to an educational environment for a student, for a teacher, for learning. That’s just not practical,” King said.
The school system’s administrative team is working now with each school principal to examine how policies and procedures would work in each individual school. King said that work will continue leading up to the system’s announcement on the 2020-2021 plan.