SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) continues to solidify plans for the upcoming school year as learning takes on a new form.
Students head back to the class virtually on Wednesday, Aug. 19, and will continue online classes at least through Labor Day. However, Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett says returning right after Sept. 7 might not be the best option at this point.
“It does not look good for us to be back face-to-face on September 8 or right after the Labor Day holiday. We will use a phased approach,” Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett said.
School board members met Wednesday to get a better picture of the district’s plan so far, including options for students who may not have substantial internet service. As the clock ticks to finalize all of the details before virtual learning starts school leaders have built what they’re calling a “house” that holds everything under one roof.
“The learning management system is the house that Savannah-Chatham built and also the one-stop-shop for all things related to curriculum,” Assoc. Superintendent for Secondary Schools, Bernadette Ball-Oliver said.
The district says they are working to make virtual learning as normal as possible by creating individual schedules to meet the needs of students.
“Schedules will be designed to maximize and provide individual support for student needs. Careful attention will be made to assure students are not overwhelmed with sitting in front of a screen for more than 20 minutes per session,” Ball-Oliver said.
Students will be able to access independent learning packets, which are paper-based, and can be submitted for grading through picture, email or hard copy.
In other cases, students will be provided assignments on a flash drive to be completed on a Chromebook without the need for internet service.
“These students may not have internet service but they will have a Chromebook. Their lessons will be provided on the flash drive. Once they have completed the lessons they have the option to submit their work on that flash drive at the next refueling,” Ball-Oliver said.
SCCPSS says staff members are receiving training on the platforms that will be used this year. More than 300 substitute teachers are receiving training on virtual learning as well.
And while the attention is often on the students’ well-being, the board also discussed how staff members are feeling about the upcoming year.
Officials at SCCPSS say the majority of staffers are concerned about going into any building and would prefer to work remotely. But those who do feel alright returning might be able to help provide a sense of comfort to others.
When the time comes for staff to return, temperatures will be taken daily and they will be screened for symptoms.
Levett says COVID-19 transmission needs to be going down for a certain period of time for in-person learning to resume.
SCCPSS is following the guidance of public health officials and will return in a phased approach when it is safe to do so. Levett says students with critical needs and early learners could go back first.
Watch Wednesday’s full meeting: