What will Richmond County schools look like with most kids remote?

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 11:16 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Without a doubt, this school year will look a lot different. And instead of being in class, 57 percent of Richmond County students will be learning right from home.

“It’s just a really hard decision, you know you feel guilty if you send them. People might feel guilty keeping the home, but you just really have to do what’s best for your family,” said a Richmond County mom who chose learning from home for her two students.

“I didn’t think I was going to. I was so ready for them to go back to school. But I just, I don’t know, it was for peace of mind,” Alania Simpson said.

And she’s not alone: 16,246 students registered for Richmond County’s online academy. That’s more than half of all students.

“Somewhere in that range of what we expected,” said Lynthia Ross, spokeswoman for the Richmond County School System.

“But we’re definitely prepared with that equipment to support the parents who indicated that their students need technology in their homes, whether that be through a mobile device, mobile laptop or computer device that they need for their students to be able to learn from home,” Ross said.

The district staff estimates between nine and 10,000 students will need laptops and 4,000 homes will need mobile hotspots.

“Our parents and students can expect our teachers to be actually more engaged in teaching and with a higher expectation that our students are mastering new content, they’re going to be delivering new material,” Ross said.

And more students online means fewer in the classroom. This helps school officials work on ideas with managing class size, social distancing with desks, bell schedules.

With more than one month before its start date, Richmond County says its top priority is focusing on ways to give students equal opportunity at success -- no matter whether their classroom is traditional or virtual.

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