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Georgia is setting up an advisory group to rebuild the fall schools



Georgia’s top state and education leaders formed working groups this week to plan for the rebuilding of schools in the fall as the federal government released long-awaited safety guidelines.

The 72 members of the K-12 restart working groups, appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp and Head of School Richard Woods, include current and past teachers of the year, heads of schools in the Atlanta Rural and Suburban Subways (Coweta and Fayette counties). , Fulton County School administrators, public health officials, heads of educational organizations, and government agencies.

Georgia’s 180 school districts will make their own decisions about whether and how to reopen their school buildings without a mandate from Kemp. The new group will provide “expertise and perspective”

; for them in six areas: school nutrition, distance learning and teacher training, mental health and well-being, additional training, facilities and work, and access to the Internet and computer devices.

The latter category is led by Kemp adviser Jannine Miller, who suggests how important the Internet service is for K-12 education. Lack of access undermines education for some students and teachers after schools close and everything shifts online, and online learning is likely to be part of resumption plans.

Georgia’s Department of Education has about $ 40 million in federal CARES law, which it can use to expand Internet services in distressed areas, but Woods chief Matt Jones said a broader nationwide solution is needed. The COVID-19 pandemic draws attention to the problem and is causing concern at the highest levels, he said, adding that solutions will pay off long after the health crisis is over.

“It will take some time, but I think the silver lining of all this is that we will have a more urgent discussion at the state level on how to do that,” he said.

The group was announced days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published long-awaited public health guidelines for schools and other public spaces and services, including summer camp providers.

These providers have begun to go through the 60-page guide and notice things that can be difficult to follow, said Katie Landes, director of the Georgia Dormitory Network. For example, hand sanitizer, which is a key element of any reopening plan, is in short supply, said Landes, who was assigned to the restart task force, which focuses on further training. Some operators have told her their facilities may be too small to stun downhill and downhill times, she said. Perhaps the most daunting challenge: hiring staff and making the necessary background, even though some fingerprint facilities are closed.

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Schools may face similar challenges.

Landes predicts that childcare will be a key component of any school rebuild plan that does not include a full return to the classroom. She hopes school districts will include local providers in their own local resumption advisory groups to coordinate parenting services: “If young people are not going to be in the school building, where will they be?”