Georgia Departments of Education, Public Health Release Guidelines For Safe School Openings
The Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Department of Public Health are releasing Georgia's K-12 Recovery Plan – guidance to help schools plan for a safe return to in-person instruction in fall 2020.
The guidelines are intended to ensure the safety of students, staff, and families while remaining flexible, responsive, and achievable in the K-12 setting. They are guidelines, not mandates, and are adaptive to multiple scenarios. School districts should review the guidance in consultation with their local public health departments and choose which methods to adopt.
Georgia's K-12 Restart Working Groups will meet through the summer and fall to build out resources for school district planning and implementation.
“We created these guidelines, in partnership with Dr. Kathleen Toomey and her team at the Georgia Department of Public Health, to give school districts a blueprint for a safe reopening that is realistic in the K-12 setting," State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “We have a responsibility to keep our students, teachers, school staff, and families safe and to provide the best possible education for our children. I'm confident these guidelines will help schools accomplish both of those objectives."
The plan addresses practicing prevention, transporting students, entering school buildings, serving meals, transitioning between classes and spaces within the school, conducting large group gatherings, supporting teaching and learning, and protecting vulnerable populations in areas of substantial, minimal to moderate, and low to no spread of COVID-19.
“We all want to open schools, but our primary goal is to provide the safest possible environments for students, teachers and staff," said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., Georgia Department of Public Health commissioner. “DPH and DOE share a long history of partnership and collaboration and have worked together to develop these guidelines for healthy learning opportunities as we navigate this COVID-19 pandemic."
The guidelines specifically address measures to ensure that students and teachers who are medically fragile have viable options even as schools reopen for in-person instruction.
A graphic providing an overview of the guidelines is available below and a downloadable version of the image is available here. It is strongly encouraged, however, that parents and other interested stakeholders to review the entire document at this link.