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Richmond County online academy deadline is today

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2020 at 1:06 PM EDT
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UPDATE: The deadline to sign up for the online learning academy is 5 p.m. Friday. To register, visit https://www.rcboe.org/onlineacademy.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Some school districts have already opened their doors to start the year this week, while others are still preparing.

The Richmond County Board of Education ended another meeting with some updates to plans for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.

“The trajectory is still going up, actually we are now considered in the red. We’re hoping within the next two weeks we see a decline,” said Kenneth Bradshaw, superintendent for Richmond County Schools.

Sept. 8 will remain as the start date for school, and that is unlikely to change. The end date for school will not change.

Even if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, that will be the start date for both virtual and traditional learning. Originally, school officials planned to delay the start date further in the case of higher numbers.

The district currently has more than 1,600 students registered for the online academy, much fewer than originally projected.

“We initially needed to plan for about one-third online which was still a max--which would have been about 10,000 students,” Bradshaw said.

And the numbers keep going up as the district has extended the late registration to Aug. 7. This move gives parents more time to make a decision, but less time for the district to plan.

“We really need to close the window at some point so that we can begin planning on the exact number of virtual students versus face to face so that we can prepare for both models,” Bradshaw explained.

After parents commit to a decision for online or traditional learning, the only way to change it is for parents to submit a hardship waiver.

The online program will now be “school-based” instead of “district-based,” so the schools will have more responsibility for virtual learning than anticipated. Virtual learning is expected to look like two hours of instruction with teachers, and assignments for the remaining time in the day.

But as the district continues planning, officials say the goal remains to provide quality education.

“It will be a challenge. But we believe we have the right personnel, the right staff that once we get our students back face-to-face or even if we have to continue in a virtual model we will be prepared,” Bradshaw said.

Meal delivery for students will start on Aug. 7. Buses will deliver to certain areas and schools will be pick-up areas.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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