FORT STEWART, Ga. (WSAV) – The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Director has approved the shifting of school opening for the DoDEA Southeast District schools, including Fort Stewart schools, due to COVID-19.
Fort Stewart schools were set to begin on Aug. 3 and will now begin on Aug. 17.
DoDEA says it is preparing to open schools and to return to brick and mortar school operations using the revised schedule for the upcoming school year.
“Restoring teaching and learning to the familiar classroom environment provides students with stability and continuity.” DoDEA said in a statement. “Face-to-face instruction and the routines of the school add significantly to the success and growth of all students.”
DoDEA Director Tom Brady said it is “imperative” to get students back to school, but said the priority is safety and health.
DoDEA cited two reasons for shifting the school openings:
- The shifts in the SY 2020/21 school calendars enable the schools to better meet the demands of returning to brick and mortar school operations in a persistent COVID-19 pandemic
- The shifts better align the DoDEA school openings with similar adjusted opening decisions by the adjoining local school districts
DoDEA says it will also offer a virtual option for families and students with health vulnerabilities or who are concerned about returning to school at the beginning of the semester. More information will be released soon.
The Americas Region Director for Student Excellence, Dr. Judith Minor, said the decision to delay the openings of select schools will not shorten the DoDEA school year for these students.
“Opening in brick and mortar with the option for parents to elect a virtual school option for higher-risk students requires a great deal of planning,” Minor said. “This involves procuring a virtual learning curriculum and staffing the virtual school, which will take some additional time for preparation. Shifting the start dates to later in August for our Southeast District schools, will enable us to be fully prepared for students.”