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Board of Education Moves Forward with On-Campus Return Phases

Submission Date: September 15, 2020

Release Date:  For Immediate Release

Contact: J.D. Hardin, 770-957-6601 ext. 161, john.hardin@henry.k12.ga.us

(Release # 0017-9-2020)

 Board of Education Moves Forward with On-Campus Return Phases  

Board of Education Moves Forward with On-Campus Return Phases

Board reviews updated details on return-to-campus planning for district’s students

HENRY COUNTY, GA – The Henry County Board of Education used their monthly Study Session on September 14 to hear from district leaders regarding the complexity of this process and extensive preparations that have been underway and are ready to be deployed to support a hybrid learning model for students and families across the district.

District officials recently concluded a district-wide survey of all parents requesting their selection for either a return to on-campus learning for their child or a continuation of remote learning.  At the conclusion of the survey, it was revealed that approximately 64 percent of families chose to continue with remote learning, while 34 percent will make their way back to campuses starting the week of September 28.

“We are pleased to be able to provide this option to all of our families,” said Board Vice-Chair Holly Cobb.  “There has been so much work that has gone into providing a safe place for students to return to campus, and we know our employees will be ready to welcome students back.”

While much work has gone into welcoming students back to campus, an equal amount of work and effort has been poured into enhancing and strengthening the remote learning environment for all families. 

Several of the division leaders for Henry County Schools presented before the board and described the focus of the organization to create high-quality and effective instruction for all learners, regardless of the option that was selected.  Connectivity to students across both learning environments was stressed as the driver for the development of instruction models.

As a part of the phased-in return for students opting into on-campus learning, Phase 2 will welcome back students in all grades for a two-day return and orientation period, based on a student’s last name, the week of September 28.  The other three days of that week, students will continue with their remote learning.  The week of October 5 will see students in Pre-K through 8th grade return to campus five days a week, while 9th through 12th-grade students will remain on a split schedule, all as a part of Phase 3.  The final phase start date has yet to be determined but will include our high school students returning to campus five days a week.

For Exceptional Student Education participants served in self-contained programs, students whose families opted for them to return will do so five days a week starting on September 28.

The work to get to this point has been a team effort across the district, and board members recognized the heavy lift and praised district officials for their tireless efforts.  They encouraged the community that the work that has taken place should give families a sense of safety and security about students returning to on-campus learning.

“All the safety protocols for Henry County Schools are in place to make sure your children will be in a safe place while they are learning,” stated Board Member Annette Edwards (District 5).  “Please go to the district website and read all the information that has been provided.  It could answer many of the questions you do have or might have.”

For families choosing to continue their learning remotely, several adjustments have been made since the start of the school year to provide a much smoother user experience.  The ability to deploy technology to all students and staff in the district has enabled Henry County Schools to move through the school year with greater ease when compared to other districts in the area and across the state.

Board Member Sophe Pope (District 4) noted a recent newspaper article that applauded the fact that Henry County Schools was not starting the school year while still trying to secure technology for everyone in the district, especially as computer manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the demand from across the country.

To get to the final plan for a phased-in return, many voices from across the district contributed to the end results. Representatives from various job families and partnerships with key contributors from the community helped guide the process and focus of the plan.  In addition to these voices, a strong focus on health data and partnership with the medical community continues to provide strong guidance on the rollout of each phase.

“There were voices from all across our district and community that contributed to the opportunity to once again provide a choice for families,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis.  “In tandem with these voices, our communities improving health metrics give us great hope that we will be able to sustain our options for families.  But it takes everyone working together to keep Henry County healthy, and we are grateful for everyone’s participation in our #KeepHenryHealthy campaign.  The campaign will not only serve to provide a safe learning environment for our students, but it will also serve to provide a safe and healthy community for all of us.”

For more information on Henry County Schools and the Return-to-Campus plans and playbook, visit www.henry.k12.ga.us.  There are multiple places for visitors to find health metrics, answers to questions, and plans for both remote and on-campus learning for students.

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