TCSS reacts, plans after governor closes schools for rest of school year

Published 11:00 am Friday, April 3, 2020

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced his intention to sign an executive order Wednesday, closing all public K-12 schools for the year of the 2019-2020 year.

The Troup County School System closed its schools for two weeks on March 13 on the recommendation from Kemp, and they haven’t been open since.

TCSS Superintendent Dr. Brian Shumate said the good news about the school year ending on March 12 is that it was the end of a nine-week period in the second semester. That means there is a natural stop in recording grades for the period.

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���So, the plan is to stop the grades at the nine-week mark,” he said.

Shumate said teachers are asked to calculate the grades as is up to March 12. Since high school students are on year-long credits, those teachers are being asked to average the first-semester and second-semester grades.

Part of the Phase 3 academic rollout, while students have been learning from home, is to have students work with their teachers on how to improve their grades. Shumate said the school system isn’t asking teachers to post grades just yet.

“We’re just saying that’s how we are going to calculate grades at the current time,” he said.

Shumate said the school system is still encouraging students to engage in academic pursuits, even students who have performed well academically.

“We’re encouraging parents to continue in the educational process,” he said. “Kids can always improve and kids can always continue to learn.”

Shumate said another round of materials will be released for students to work on after spring break.

Additionally, he said the school system expects all of its teachers to be available through email and checking in with students and families. All employees are still being paid, Shumate said.

The food service program is also continuing, but it may change a bit after spring break, Shumate said.

For Friday, the school student has prepared about 35,000 meals to be distributed, which means breakfast and lunch for Friday and one for each day throughout spring break.

However, because of the school system trying to adhere to the governor’s order, it’s possible delivery service of meals could stop. Shumate said several kids and parents crowding around a bus stop waiting on a meal isn’t ideal.

Currently, nine of the system’s 17 schools have been providing drive-thru lunch service. Shumate said it’s possible all the schools will open for that service through the end of the school year, except for Hope Academy and THINC Academy.

“We want to make sure we’re keeping our employees safe and keeping kids safe,” Shumate said.

He said additional details on the food service program will be announced as soon as possible.