Clarke County School District parents learned last week who their children’s teachers will be for the remainder of the semester, as CCSD shuffled classes to prepare for resuming in-person instruction. About one-third of parents have opted to continue distance learning, while two-thirds are sending their children back.
Despite a COVID-19 caseload hovering around twice what is considered the “red zone,” the plan remains for CCSD to reopen schools on Nov. 9. According to Director of Nursing Amy Roark, new guidance from public health officials encourages school districts to look at a wider range of information, such as the ability to implement mitigation measures, the availability of hospital beds and the up-or-down trending of infection rates.
“We know the best place for students to be is in the classroom,” Interim Superintendent Xernona Thomas said at an Oct. 27 open house, and she is confident the district can bring students, teachers and staff back to school safely.
Not bringing them back, she added, could have disastrous consequences. “Our community cannot afford to have another lost generation of students,” Thomas said.
CCSD recently spent $187,000 on clear plastic dividers for students to place between their desks. School board member Kara Dyckman, though, questioned why the district spent that money on dividers instead of air purifiers.
“We’ve had more requests for dividers, in my opinion, than we’ve had for air purifiers,” Chief of Operations Dexter Fisher responded. Fisher said there have been no documented cases in the U.S. of an individual catching COVID-19 through a ventilation system.
While that’s true, research has shown that proper ventilation is important for avoiding COVID indoors. Barriers can protect against spread through droplets of saliva or mucus, but the coronavirus is also airborne, and air purifiers filter out and trap viruses. Fisher said he would take a look at air purifiers.
Like what you just read? Support Flagpole by making a donation today. Every dollar you give helps fund our ongoing mission to provide Athens with quality, independent journalism.