Dalton Schools have a different back to school plan

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DALTON, Georgia (WDEF) – The Dalton School Board voted Monday night to take a different approach to reopening.

They are holding back the beginning of classes until August 31st to give Covid-19 precautions more time.

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But for the first couple of weeks, students will only attend classes two days out of the week.

Half on Monday and Tuesday.. the other half on Thursday and Friday.

They will spend Wednesday on digital learning and school cleaning.

Then on September 14th, students resume classes five days a week.

Both students and staff will be required to wear masks, that includes on school buses.

And parents can opt out for online learning at any point of the year.

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Here is the full letter they posted for parents:

When we took office on the Board of Education on behalf of our community, we realized we were taking on a position of trust and stewardship. We are entrusted with the safety and well-being of our students and staff. We are entrusted to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars. Finally, we are entrusted with educating our future citizens and work force. Please know that none of us take any of these things lightly.

These factors have made the decision about how DPS returns to school challenging and often conflicting. As a governance team, we know our community’s children need to be in school and that there are social, emotional and educational factors that make the in-person environment ideal. However, the spread of the coronavirus in our community is concerning and poses health and safety challenges that can be mitigated but not eliminated.

Therefore, in announcing our back-to-school plans, we have sought to manage and navigate multiple tensions in hopes that our plans are based on sound medical guidance without undermining the important educational outcomes we strive for in our students. We realize no plan will be perfect or please everyone; however, our plan can be reasonable, measured, adaptable and flexible.

It is our humble hope that this has been achieved in our plan as outlined below:

  • Prevention and Protection Measures:
    • Hiring a medical professional as the DPS Coronavirus Prevention and Response Coordinator
    • Requiring masks in all DPS facilities except when social distancing can be maintained
    • Implementing aggressive and more frequent cleaning of our facilities and buses
    • Limiting the number of students per bus
  • Moving Forward to Educate with Excellence:
    • 100 percent online education will be always available to any student at any time this academic year
    • School will officially start on August 31 using the hybrid option to give more time for community mitigation efforts to take effect
    • 50 percent of students will attend on Monday and Tuesday while the remaining 50 percent will attend on Thursday and Friday until September 14. Wednesdays will be a digital learning day for all students while the school buildings are being deep cleaned.
    • Beginning Monday, Sept. 14, 100 percent of students who have chosen in-person will return to school Monday through Friday.
    • Masks will be required by staff and students on campus when social distancing of 6 feet or more is not possible. Students must wear masks when riding school buses.
    • We are able to change our instructional model at any time as local conditions warrant. We will remain flexible and adaptable.

We appreciate everyone who has shared their thoughts and provided feedback to the Board. We have read every email and text, processed the results of our district survey, and listened to every comment whether made at a Board meeting or at the grocery store. Dalton Public Schools has been built on a foundation of high community engagement and a strong commitment to public education for all our children.

As a community, while we may disagree on specific details, we all share the same goals of seeing the spread of the coronavirus significantly reduced and protecting one another, all while ensuring that our kids—our community and our country’s future—receive the best education we can provide, even under these adverse circumstances. This is the Dalton Difference we seek to uphold.