DCSS talks school return amid COVID-19 pandemic

DCSS talks school return amid COVID-19 pandemic

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - You may still be deciding whether you want to send your kids back to school for in-person learning this fall.

Dougherty County School System (DCSS) leaders said big changes will be made in classrooms this fall.

Class sizes will be limited, and you’ll see masks worn in schools. They’ll offer help for those who chose virtual learning, as well.

While we’ve gone through many unknowns during the coronavirus pandemic, one major unknown worrying parents, students and teachers have been whether to go back to in-person learning this fall.

“We believe the best place for students to learn is on campus, in front of a teacher. Make no mistake about that. We also understand this a deadly virus and our first priority is the safety and health of our students and our employees,” Kenneth Dyer, DCSS superintendent, said.

To ensure both, Dyer said they offer parents two options.

“We have struck a balance between providing for the safety and a rigorous educational experience,” Dyer said.

Superintendent Kenneth Dyer discusses back to school preparations.
Superintendent Kenneth Dyer discusses back to school preparations. (Source: WALB)

Parents can choose to send their kids back to school or continue virtual learning. Around 45 percent of households in the county said they don’t have access to reliable internet service. That creates a new challenge for parents choosing the virtual option.

“We acquired 5,000 hotspots with unlimited data, so those families who need access to reliable internet, we provide them with hotspots, as well,” Dyer said.

For those choosing in-person learning, Dyer said class sizes will be limited to about 15 students, desks will be equipped with shields, temperatures will be taken and face masks will be required when riding a school bus, with one student per seat, unless you’re from the same household.

“Masks will be required in any common area in the building, including hallways, restrooms, gymnasiums. In the classroom, however, students will have the option to wear a face mask or shield, both will be provided by the school system,” said Dyer.

Dyer said they’ll extensively clean schools.

He said they haven’t decided if students will eat in the cafeteria or in their classrooms yet, but if in the cafeteria, they’d have to social distance.

He said for students doing virtual learning, buses will deliver meals like they did during the spring.

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