Safety is a priority as Richmond County kids return to classrooms

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 5:38 AM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The first round of Richmond County schools are returning to face-to-face instruction this morning after two weeks of learning from home.

The switch was made to home learning due to COVID-19 concerns.

Richmond County school officials say safety is their top priority.

To support a safe environment, they’re assigning seats on buses and in classrooms along with reminding students to wash their hands.

They say they’re also requiring students to wear masks on buses, in classrooms and in hallways.

As students return to face-to-face instruction, the mobile Wi-Fi service – which sends buses into neighborhoods as mobile hotspots -- and meal pickup and delivery services for virtual learners will return to their regular schedules.

Wi-Fi neighborhood access points will operate with an expanded schedule daily from 8 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m.

Richmond County is asking students who have tested positive and are in quarantine to call their school and let administrators know before returning to school for face-to-face instruction.

Richmond County elementary students return today, and the rest of the face-to-face learners from K-8, middle and high schools will return Tuesday.

In Columbia County

Meanwhile, Columbia County schools have switched their hybrid learning model students to five-day-a-week in-person learning.

Some parents were concerned about the changes and were considering switching learning models, but Columbia County now requires parents to have a doctor’s note before switching to the learn-from-home model.

Some parents say the barriers they face puts them in a really tough spot.

“They just really wanted to go back to school. And with the hybrid model we thought it was safe,” parent Storm McClure said.

“I worry every day. I go back and forth every day whether or not I’m doing the right thing, whether or not I’m keeping them as safe as I can.”

Columbia County officials said they weren’t able to accommodate frequent model changes is due to issues with staffing and consistency.

Elsewhere in the CSRA

  • Students in Wilkes County also resume face-to-face learning today. They switched to completely virtual learning for the past three weeks because of a continued rise in covid cases in the county.
  • Starting today, McDuffie County schools are moving the district to a blended model for face-to-face students. It “will ensure the ability for proper social distancing and to reduce the population in classrooms, in hallways, and in common areas,” the district said in a statement. District officials say this system will remain in place until Feb. 5.
  • In Edgefield County, students have gone back to remote learning. The superintendent said school officials weren’t comfortable with case numbers.

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