SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – In just one week, the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) will start the new year online.
Teachers made the return to their classrooms more than a week ago preparing for the first day – but it’s still unknown when they’ll be able to teach face-to-face again.
Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett gave an update at Wednesday’s school board meeting on when that might happen.
“I want to make sure that I communicate very clearly that based on the number of positive cases that we have in our community, the number of hospitalizations, and the community of the cumulative numbers of positive cases we see that we’re going to be involved in virtual learning for probably longer than we hoped,” Levett said.
The school district was planning for face-to-face learning with socially distanced classrooms this fall. The district did a test run with students earlier this summer but with coronavirus cases still surging in our area that wasn’t possible to return in person on Aug. 19.
“We’re not suggesting that we want to be involved in a process where we’re going to increase our risk,” Levett said. “We really want a low-risk environment.”
And after more than a dozen positive COVID-19 cases were reported at a Georgia high school, school leaders are being more cautious.
“The guiding principles to keep in mind, the more people students or staff members interacting, the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19,” Dr. Levett said.
She adds that the district will continue monitoring the virus with county health officials. The Community Transmission Index which helps better understand how COVID-19 is spreading throughout the community will be the model they follow.
SCCPSS school leaders have established a green to red system, green being good to reopen and red keeps schools closed. At the beginning of June, cases were in the yellow range with 1-10 daily new cases – but now we’re in the red zone with more than 25 new daily cases.
Levett says when school leaders give the green light to reopen, students will be brought back to the classroom in a phased approach.