COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County Schools Board of Education will meet Friday for "discussion and update of reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year," according to the agenda released Thursday morning.
The specific nature of the update was not made clear. The special-called meeting will be broadcast via YouTube beginning at 8:30 a.m.
As of Thursday, Newton County Schools are set to welcome back students Monday, Aug. 24.
Students and parents have been given the choice of in-person instruction or two types of virtual instruction. Approximately 4,000 students have requested in-person instruction, between 6,000-7,000 students have requested virtual instruction and about 1,800 students have requested the self-paced virtual option, according to Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey.
In early July, the board approved a Recovery and Reopening Plan for the school system, which included health and safety guidelines for in-person instruction. As previously reported by The Covington News, some of the guidelines within the plan included increasing the distance between seating assignments, rearranging classrooms to have students facing the same direction and implementing staggered class changes. If the level of community spread is low or nonexistent, students and staff members will be “allowed” to wear face coverings, according to the plan. If the level of spread is minimal or moderate, students and staff members will then be “expected” to wear face coverings, “especially when physical distancing cannot be maintained.”
On July 21, two groups of teachers and parents led opposing protests outside the board of education on the subject of in-person instruction. Some told The Covington News in-person instruction was needed for a variety of reasons, but others said it could be dangerous due to COVID-19.
Two days later, the CDC released guidelines advocating for the reopening of school for in-person instruction.
"Aside from a child’s home, no other setting has more influence on a child’s health and well-being than their school," part of the CDC's statement read. "The in-person school environment does the following: provides educational instruction; supports the development of social and emotional skills; creates a safe environment for learning; addresses nutritional needs; and facilitates physical activity."