Message from the Superintendent

July 21, 2020

Dear Jacket Family,

Because of  the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the direction of Governor Brian Kemp, Calhoun City Schools closed on March 13, 2020.  Only certain, essential personnel maintained a presence in the schools and facilities after that time, yet we have continued to serve our students in a number of ways.  As you know, the system immediately moved to provide social and emotional support to employees, students and their families.  School nutrition continued operations to provide meals to students.  Online instruction and professional development were provided.   Chromebook computers and mobile hotspots were deployed.  As the school year concluded, plans were made for the collection and return of school and student-owned materials.  Throughout this time staff have maintained a number of operations, communications, mail and copy services, facilities maintenance and repairs. 

We are now preparing for the next phase - the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year.  That process has begun, and continues to be a collaborative effort with stakeholders, community members and public health officials. Planning is comprehensive, systematic and multi-faceted.  At its core is the safety and health of students and staff.  The plan is flexible, responsible, adaptable, and most importantly, safety-focused.  

There continue to be questions and concerns related to the reopening of schools in light of increased testing and confirmation of COVID-19 cases.  Please know that our first priority is the safety and health of all students and staff.  We are making every effort to provide the safest environment possible, knowing that there will be challenges, but we must trust each other to make sure we are diligent in our efforts.  We continue to monitor COVID-19 data and seek the counsel of the Department of Public Health and COVID Task Force. There is still much to be accomplished before our planned first day for students on August 12th.  We know that no plan will be perfect or please everyone; however, our plan is reasonable, measured, adaptable and flexible.  (Please note that this may change based on information prior to this date.)

Please take time to review the attached guidance in Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools provided by the Georgia Department of Education.  We have participated in several conference calls and webinars over the past several weeks and have found Governor Kemp, State School Superintendent Woods and Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Toomey to be very responsive.  We continue to work with our District and Local Health Departments, Gordon County Emergency Management Agency, AdventHealth and other health care providers on school reopening plans.  Weekly or bi-monthly COVID Task Force meetings continue to be held.

Schools are a part of the larger community, so both community spread and specific cases in schools will be considered in re-opening and operational decisions.  In the Plan A model, traditional face-to-face instruction will be paired with in-class virtual learning.  This way, students will become more familiar with working online should face-to-face instruction be interrupted due to school closures. 

Calhoun City Schools has always set out to maintain a tradition of excellence while making things as personal as we can for our students, families, employees and other stakeholders.  Please note that schools will look and operate differently during the pandemic to keep everyone safe.  Please be supportive of all of the new procedures as we work together to create the safest environments possible.

As superintendent, I appreciate everyone who has shared their thoughts and prayers.  I appreciate those who have provided feedback in many forms.  We have read each and every text, message, email, comment, suggestion, and answer to our survey questions.  As a community, while we may not always agree on decisions that are made, we all want what is best for our children.  

Our reopening plan has options for all families.  Right now, our goal is to come back to school on August 12th so our teachers can meet their students.  It would be most difficult to launch the new year without this opportunity.  We also know that with this evolving situation, we may be required to pivot to Plan B or Plan C if there is substantial community spread of COVID-19.  We will be prepared to support our students and staff in the safest and best way possible.  Please continue to keep those who have been impacted by the virus and those on the front lines caring for the sick in your thoughts and prayers. Also keep all of our students’ families and our Jacket staff close to your hearts.

Sincerely,

Michele Taylor
Superintendent
Calhoun City Schools