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Henry County Schools Welcomes Back Students in Phase 2 Reopening

Submission Date: September 29, 2020

Release Date:  For Immediate Release

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

(Release # 0020-9-2020)

Henry County Schools Welcomes Back Students in Phase 2 Reopening  

Henry County Schools Welcomes Back Students in Phase 2 Reopening

Students in school buildings for first time in six months

HENRY COUNTY, GA – It has been six months, but students finally returned to school buildings this week after a nearly 200-day hiatus from campuses as Henry County Schools moved to Phase 2 of its gradual return-to-campus plan.  While some students and families opted to stay in a remote learning environment when given the choice, over 15,000 students chose to make their way back to a familiar class space as a part of the board-approved return.

“We could not be more excited to welcome our students back,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis.  “It has been far too long since we have seen students in person, chatting and learning in our school buildings, but this week marks an important milestone for our community.”

District leaders have been preparing for this hybrid model of learning since the end of the last school year and all throughout the summer.  A spike in COVID-19 cases, locally, back in July forced a change and delay to those plans, but improving health metrics have recently paved the way to start the gradual and staggered return to on-campus learning for students. 

The start of Phase 2 and return of students this week splits the student body into two groups based on the first letter of their last name.  Students with last names starting with A through M return for class and orientation on Monday and Tuesday, while students with last names starting with N through Z return on Thursday and Friday.  All non-campus days this week are remote learning days, and students who chose remote learning will continue with that instruction model as they have since school started on August 17.  As a part of the return, all students served in self-contained special education programs are going back five days a week.

To prepare for the welcoming of students, district leaders recently hosted a Readiness Assessment with local top health officials to gauge the district’s preparedness to bring students back to campus.  The success of that visit, coupled with key guidance and feedback on opportunities to enhance safety awareness allowed facilities across the district to prepare adequate signage, communication, and other health measures in order to safely allow students to return.

Of note, praise was given to the plans that have been developed by Henry County Schools.  As stated by members of the assessment team, the plan is one of the most comprehensive and thorough plans they have reviewed.

District officials will next move the board’s on-campus return plans to Phase 3 the week of October 5-9.  This week will include all Pre-K through 8th-grade students returning five days a week.  High school students will continue with a split schedule based on their last name until the district moves into Phase 4.  A date has not yet been determined for this fourth and final phase of the return plan.

“Our goal from the beginning has been to return our students, families, and staff back to a normal school and learning environment, but we know that will take some time due to the global pandemic,” said Davis.  “But even before normal, safety is paramount to our success in delivering high-quality instruction and creating learning options on campus and remotely.  Our team of employees all across Henry County Schools has been instrumental in helping us achieve our shared goals, and we look forward to our students returning to the classroom when the time is right.

For more information on Henry County Schools visit www.henry.k12.ga.us

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