August 4, 2020
Start of School Information for 2020-2021
It is important to remember that as the guidance from our Department of Public Health, the CDC, and the Georgia Department of Education is updated, Monroe County Schools will adjust plans and protocols as needed. As mentioned throughout our communication, please recognize that no plan is perfect, and no plan will alleviate all risks with starting back to school.
We are still experiencing a higher than normal number of Covid-19 cases in Monroe County and throughout the middle Georgia area. The school system and health officials have continued to analyze data and trends with cases in our county and throughout the state of Georgia. It is apparent that coronavirus cases in our area are prevalent among teenagers and young adults, with fewer cases in children 10 years of age and under. Using this data and collaborating with local health officials, the instructional plan for Monroe County Schools is provided below.
All middle school and high school students will begin instruction on August 17th virtually. With the high number of cases seen in middle and high school age students, we feel that a virtual start will be the best option at this point. The schedules at both of these levels involve classes that include different groups of students in each period or block, which can lead to a major school disruption when individual cases appear.
Elementary students will begin on August 17th with a combination of virtual instruction and face to face instruction. There are several reasons that the system feels like face to face instruction with elementary students is a viable option at this point. First, the spread data supports that face to face instruction with younger children represents fewer risks of individual cases and spread in the school setting. Secondly, elementary school allows students to remain in their homeroom grouping for much of the school day, causing much less of a school disturbance when we experience individual cases. Lastly, younger students need more face to face instruction when they are learning to read, write, and master basic math concepts. Note, parents who signed their elementary child up for the virtual option will also begin virtual instruction on August 17th.
Moving forward, the school district will analyze health data every week to make determinations regarding face to face instruction at the middle and high school level. If a decision is made to begin face to face instruction at the middle and high school level, parents and staff will be given an additional week to prepare for this change in instruction.
Children who signed up in the summer for the virtual option will remain on the virtual option for nine weeks at the elementary and middle school level while students who signed up for the virtual option at the high school will remain on the virtual option for the entire semester.
We realize that moving to virtual instruction with many of our students presents an issue with regard to securing an electronic device and accessing wifi in homes and communities. Listed below are options that families can utilize to help support their child in our virtual option.
Chromebooks will be issued to students as needed by their home school.
The school system will secure hot spots through Verizon for families to use during the first semester this year. This service will be free to students and parents and will be available after Labor Day. The school system will issue more information on this option in the coming days.
Several community partners will be offering the use of their facilities for children and families to access the internet. A list of these partners will be available next week.
The school system has five school buses equipped with wifi to offer wifi opportunities in different areas of our county. Right now, we will place the buses in the following locations: High Falls, Culloden, Juliette, and 2 buses in Forsyth.
MCMS, MPHS, and MCAC will provide lab space for students to access to complete work assignments. Parents will need to sign their child up for these 2 hour blocks and masking and social distancing will be required.
Wifi has been extended to parking lots at MCMS, MPHS, and the Fine Arts Center for student internet access.
Thank you for your support and for allowing us the opportunity to serve the children of Monroe County. We are working diligently to provide a safe learning environment for every child as well as providing learning options that fit the needs of each family during this trying time. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns that you may have.
Welcome to the Monroe County School System, a dynamic school system located in the heart of Georgia near both Macon and Atlanta. Our system is known for its tradition of educational excellence for all students. We "Honor the Past while Creating the Future," and we look to add to this tradition with a "Commitment to Excellence" in everything we do.