The Hall County School District on Tuesday evening released a tentative plan for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
Superintendent Will Schofield, in a video posted to YouTube, as well as the district's website and Facebook pages, outlined many elements of the district's back-to-school plan.
The newly-released calendar, which is subject to change due to the ever-evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, contains a start date on August 3 for staff pre-planning.
New student orientation would begin online on August 10 for students with a last name beginning in A-M, and would begin on August 11 for students with a last name beginning in N-Z. Both calendar days would also include in-person orientation for Kindergarten, 6th Grade, 9th Grade and all new students.
The first official day of school would be held on August 12 for the A-M students, and on August 13 for all N-Z students.
The district also shared a survey with families providing them an opportunity to select an instructional model that best meets the needs of their child. Families can choose between in-person instruction on site at school, or a virtual option, and should be receiving the survey in an email from the district in the next few days.
Schofield said families would have until Friday, August 21, to declare whether their student(s) would be moving ahead with either virtual or in-person learning.
The original version of the article is included below:
Officials with the Hall County School District readily admit they continue to have questions about how they will navigate the upcoming school year with the ongoing coronavirus health crisis. Still, they have a plan in place and they will unveil a video Tuesday for staff and parents to see what the first 15-days of the 2020-2021 school year might look like, particularly as it relates to younger elementary students.
At a called meeting Monday night, district leaders spent more than an hour fielding questions about the re-opening of school from members of the Hall County School Board.
Kevin Bales, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, said a number of parents still don't know if they want their children to return to the classroom for face-to-face learning or to continue learning from home, as they did in the spring.
"It's okay at this point to be undecided because certain things are still changing day-to-day," Bales said.
Bales said most questions coming to Central Office are from parents concerned about how the district will keep students safe from the spread of COVID-19.
Superintendent Will Schofield said while students won't have to wear face coverings, teachers and other staff members will wear face shields or masks in school buildings. Additionally, there is a plan in place to reduce the capacity of school lunchrooms by 50% to keep students at a proper social distance.
Plans for social distancing on school buses have yet to be finalized.
Right now, the calendar calls for teachers to return to school on Aug. 3 with students returning on Aug. 7, but the date for a student return appears likely to change based on discussions the board had Tuesday night.