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Virtual learners begin to return to classroom

October 16, 2020 - 00:00
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Assistant Superintendent for Student Support and Community Relations Jay Homan reported that the week before fall break was the first full week without any positive COVID-19 cases during the Morgan County Board of Education’s Monday, Oct. 13 meeting.

“Being completely honest at the start of the year with COVID-19 we weren’t sure how long or how far we were going to get. We thought that at some point we might have to shut it down. The numbers that we are going to present here are pretty optimistic,” Homan said. “Our preventative measures are working and having an impact.”

Homan said to give the board an idea of the extent that the measures are working, he would present some statistics for the first nine weeks of school. According to Homan’s report, at Morgan County High School 161 students total were forced to quarantine due to contact tracing, but of those quarantined only two students tested positive. Homan’s report stated that at Morgan County Middle School 98 students were out on quarantine due to contact tracing and out of those quarantined only one student tested positive.

According to Homan’s report, at the elementary school 57 students were quarantined due to contact tracing, and out of those quarantined only one tested positive. At the primary school 92 students were out on quarantine due to contact tracing and out of those quarantined only one tested positive.

“Overall about a little over 1 percent for the whole system in terms of the number of students, so I think the masks are helping,” Homan said.

Homan said the masks are helping prevent the spread of the virus and the system is pleased with the numbers. However, they do understand that they are not out of the woods yet.

Superintendent Dr. Virgil Cole gave the teaching and learning report in Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Susan Tolbert’s absence. Cole reported the fall MAP testing results. Cole said the results for face-to-face students are typical for this time of year.

Cole also reported that students at the primary and elementary schools were able to begin transitioning between in-person and virtual options at the nine-week grading period. Cole reported that the system would have 73 students returning to in-person learning and 11 students from the waitlist going to the remote learning model.

“This is sort of changing in a positive way as time goes on,” Cole said. “We don’t have to make any staff changes. I think we can support the structure we had developed anyways. This is good news. We’re around 88 percent now for in-person from 84 percent when we started the school year. So I think that is an encouraging sign for our school system in terms of the way we are doing things.”

The middle and high schools will be able to transition between virtual and in-person learning at the end of the semester.

Also during the meeting:

• The board heard a report on technology and instruction from Director of Technology Chris Baker and Director of Instructional Technology Tiffany Markley.

• During Cole’s superintendent’s report, he reminded the board and those in the meeting room about the upcoming vote on ESPLOST. Cole said the primary focus was to pay off the bonds for the new middle and high school campuses. Cole said they hope to also be able to do some other projects that are “sorely needed.” “Of course we can’t promote it for people to vote for it but hopefully people will at least consider it and vote one way or the other for this ESPLOST,” Cole said.

• The board approved the financial report.

• The board approved revisions to board policy EEE: Wellness Program.

• The board approved revisions to the JAA-Equal Educational Opportunities, JCAC-Sexual Harassment of Students, GAAA-Equal Opportunity Employment and the GAEB-Sexual Harassment of Employees policies for public review.

• The board approved the personnel list.