Catoosa County Schools announce 3 week class change

RINGGOLD, Georgia (WDEF) – Catoosa County schools will move to a new three week plan for classes.

Next week, they will have virtual learning and then move to a hybrid in-class plan for the two weeks after Labor Day.

Here is the status of their neighboring counties in Northwest Georgia

Dade: Dade Elem. begins virtual Monday, Dade Middle & High go to hybrid classes Friday and Monday

Walker: Hybrid class schedule begins Monday for 2 weeks

Whitfield: Mandatory masks, with parent opt-out

Dalton: Mandatory masks for pre-k thru 7th, with parent opt-out

Murray: School starts on the Tuesday after Labor Day

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Here is the message from Catoosa Superintendent Denia Reese:

CCPS TEMPORARY THREE-WEEK COVID-19 MITIGATION

Due to a significant number of students (370) and staff (55) testing positive for COVID the last two weeks, and a very high number of students (2,130) and staff (120) in quarantine , CCPS will transition to an alternate schedule for the next three weeks.

     *August 30th – September 3rd: Digital learning week for all students
     *September 7th – September 17th: Hybrid schedule for all students for two in-person learning days per week.
     *September 20th: Students return for 5-day a week instruction.

     *Note: In-season sports and extra-curricular practices and competitions will continue as scheduled, per GHSA mitigation guidelines.
     *Parents will receive a detailed email today about student attendance days during hybrid learning and other school operations during the mitigation period.

Following are answers to questions you may ask:

Why is every school going to digital learning for a week?

     >There are a high number of positive cases and students in quarantine in every school. This year, we are seeing a higher number of students in quarantine test positive for COVID. Heritage Middle and High School were closed on August 19th and 20th for one week due to the number of positive cases and quarantines. After being closed almost one week, Heritage Middle still had the highest percentage of positive cases in the county on August 25th.
     >Schools have a high number of teachers and staff who have tested positive and who are in quarantine. It has been very challenging to find substitute teachers for classroom supervision and adequate staff to maintain school operations.
     >A week in digital learning will provide time for teachers, students, and staff who tested positive to recover from COVID.
     >Teachers and administrators will use the week when students are not in the school to reconfigure classrooms to have more physical distance between students. Additionally, seating charts will be developed so students sit with the same “cohort” in every class to minimize close contacts and quarantines.

Why will students return in a hybrid schedule for two-weeks beginning September 7th?

     >Transitioning back to school on a hybrid schedule allows for physical distancing in classrooms so we can monitor the spread of COVID for a short-time prior to returning to a traditional schedule.

What if I can’t find child care during this three-week period?

     >The school system has partnered with the YMCA for families who can not find child care. Please complete the Child Care Request Form (here) if you would like to be contacted by the YMCA. For more information about their program click here.

Will meals be provided for students during the three week mitigation period?

     >Yes. Breakfast and lunch meals will be available at your child’s school. Dates and times are available here.

What mitigation strategies will be in place when students return to school on September 20th to enable schools to remain open?

     >Classrooms will be reconfigured as much as possible to face all desks in the same direction and to provide more physical distance between students.
     >Class transitions and dismissals will be staggered to limit the number of students “mixing” in the hallways.
     >Lunch will be staggered so cafeterias are at a lower capacity, and the number of students sitting together will be limited to provide social distancing.
     >Visitors will be restricted temporarily.
     >Hand sanitizing stations will be increased and available throughout each school.

How can parents help mitigate the spread of COVID?

     >Keep students who are sick home from school. Students who eventually test positive may initially have symptoms of seasonal allergies a day or two before having a fever. Please be aware of unusual upper respiratory symptoms, fatigue, and loss of smell and taste.
     >Encourage your child to wash hands frequently, utilize hand sanitizer, and maintain social distance at school as much as possible.

I appreciate your understanding during this temporary mitigation period. I think we all agree our children need to be in school for face-to-face instruction and interaction with their peers. The transmission of COVID is much different this year, but working together I am confident we can mitigate the spread and keep our schools open.

Categories: Catoosa County, COVID-19, Dade County, Dalton, Featured, Local News, Murray County, Walker County, Whitfield County