Hello Newton County School System stakeholders, and welcome to my first update of the 2021-2022 school year.
Last week was an exciting week in the Newton County School System for sure! We welcomed our new teachers on July 19 and our returning teachers and staff on July 22. Everyone has hit the ground running! Rest assured we are all working hard to ensure a smooth start to the school year, and we cannot wait to welcome our students on Monday, Aug. 2. It is so hard to believe that’s next week. We cannot wait to see them!
Teachers are busy getting classrooms and lesson plans prepared, the school nutrition team is planning delicious, nutritious meals, our mechanics are ensuring our buses are in tip-top shape, and our bus drivers are reviewing their routes as we all prepare for our students to return. To help ensure a smooth start, we encouraged you to join us this week during our district-wide Open House program. This was a wonderful way for you to meet your child’s new teacher, obtain class schedules and school supply lists, parking and bus route information, and just learn all about the upcoming school year. Please note that our schools had expanded their traditional Open House hours this year to allow for social distancing.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your school for assistance.
Also, it is absolutely critical that we have your current email and contact information so that we can easily provide you with school system information throughout the year. We use our School Messenger system as our primary tool for communication and messages are delivered both via telephone and email; if your Infinite Campus information is not accurate, you will not hear from the school system at all. Please take a moment to check your information.
We have received inquiries about our mask-wearing expectations for this school year, which is also addressed in our Return to School Plan that was shared with stakeholders on June 4. As of this moment, our plan is to highly recommend but not require students or staff wear masks — but that could change depending on our community transmission of COVID-19. As you are likely aware, our state and nation are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. As such, to get ahead of the increase, I continue to recommend adhering to the three W’s philosophy whether you are vaccinated or not — Wash your hands frequently, Wear a mask when around anyone outside of your immediate family, and Watch your distance when out in public. Our goal is to open our schools and have them remain open without closures and quarantines if possible — but it will take everyone — students, staff, and visitors, doing their part to keep our schools safe and healthy.
It’s important to mention again that our “Safe Return to School” plan is on our website for your reference at www.newtoncountyschools.org. The plan itself is dynamic and could change over the course of year depending upon the CDC and Department of Public Health’s continuing guidance.
My commitment to you is to do my very best to keep you informed, tell you what I know, and make all decisions with the health and safety of our students and staff as our No. 1 priority
While we had all hoped that the words COVID-19 would be in our past, unfortunately, it continues to be a topic for our nation, state and community. As such, as in the past, I will lean heavily on our medical partners from both Newton Piedmont Hospital and the Gwinnett-Newton-Rockdale Health Department. The health and safety of our students and staff are always our No. 1 priority. Please help us keep everyone safe.
I hope you and your student enjoy the remainder of your summer break. Rest assured, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our students for the start of the 2021-2022 school year!
Samantha Fuhrey is the superintendent of Newton County Schools.