Chattooga County Schools experience ‘great’ and ‘smooth’ first day back

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CHATTOOGA COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) – As if the first day of school isn’t stressful enough, this year schools are dealing with a new year in the coronavirus pandemic.

While no school district may really want to be one of the first ones to reopen, someone has got to do it.

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Enter the Chattooga County School District.

The district leads the way in being one of the first school systems to reopen.

For their students, they went back to school on Thursday, just as planned with no delay.

But, despite the pandemic, it sounded like the first day back to school wasn’t all that bad.

“It was a great first day of school. Everything seemed to go smoothly,” Chattooga County Schools Superintendent Jared Hosmer said.

They were the first district in our area to start the new school year while in the pandemic.

The schools worked with health officials and used the Georgia’s Path to Recovery plan as guidance in reopening.

It’s a new year and a new way of operating with several modifications.

“We have increased our sanitation. We have hand sanitizer stations throughout the buildings,” Hosmer said.

“We have new arrival and dismissal plans that keep the children from congregating.”

While strongly encouraged, masks are not required for anyone at the schools.

And, in a press conference over the phone, the superintendent said they’re not currently considering making facial coverings a requirement.

“Everyone did not have on a mask, but we did have what I would consider for the first day pretty good participation with the masks,” he said.

The schools reopened with hybrid learning and around 12 percent of students signed up for virtual learning.

But, parents were notified that virtual learning would be delayed.

“We had every intention in starting with our virtual learners today, but it’s going to be one day next week that we’re going to start with them. We’ve got some training we’ve got to do ourselves before we roll that out to our parents,” Hosmer said.

At the schools, the superintendent said that social distancing will need to be improved, but other than that he stressed that the day went well.