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City Schools of Decatur considering three scenarios for reopening this fall

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City Schools of Decatur considering three scenarios for reopening this fall

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Decatur's newest school, Talley Street Upper Elementary, opened its doors on Aug. 1. File photo by Christopher Rosselot.


Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur has outlined three scenarios for resuming classes this fall.

Schools closed at the end of the 2019-2020 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the district switched to digital learning for the remainder of the year.

“Our goal is to bring back as many students and staff as safely as possible for in-person learning on August 4th, but we do not yet have enough information to make a final decision on which scenario is best. We need your input,” CSD Assistant Superintendent Maggie Fehrman said in a letter to parents.

The school district is conducting a survey about the three scenarios. The survey closes at 8 a.m. on July 6. To take the survey, click here.

The scenarios are as follows:

1) Students return with safety precautions in place. 

Here’s more information about that option from City Schools of Decatur:

– School begins as scheduled on August 4th.

– Social distancing protocols in classrooms and other spaces (to the extent possible).

– Reductions in the intermingling of groups (to the extent possible).

– Visitors limited to essential visits only.

– Athletics and activities following the guidance from the Georgia High School Association (GHSA).

– Enhanced hygiene protocols such as hand sanitizer stations, scheduled handwashing times for younger students, and encouraging older students to wash their hands as frequently as possible.

– An emphasis on social emotional health.

– Students strongly encouraged to wear a face shield or a face mask. Staff wearing a face mask or face shield.

– Frequent cleaning and disinfecting.

– Ventilation systems frequently monitored for proper operation.

– Periodic screenings, including random temperature checks. Students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms or a temperature of 100.4 or higher isolated immediately and sent home.

– Specific action steps for how the school will respond to positive COVID-19 cases will be implemented. These action steps are still in development.


– Hand sanitizer for students and drivers.

– Face mask or face shield required for all drivers.

– Students riding the bus are required to wear a mask or face shield.

– Clean and disinfect buses daily after morning and afternoon routes.

– No field trips.


– Students wash hands before and after meals

– Cafeteria keypads replaced with a barcode scanning system.

– Students eat lunch and breakfast in their classrooms.

Even if we select Scenario 1, we are making plans for parents to opt for online learning if in-school instruction is not appropriate for their family. Students who participate in school digitally instead of in-person will be required to stay in the digital learning environment for the entire grading term. Choosing online instruction would also preclude a student’s participation in in-person activities such as athletics. An online option would begin later in August to ensure the involved teachers have adequate time to prepare.

2) Full digital learning. 

According to CSD:

Due to certain risk factors, it might not be possible for students or staff to return to school in August. In this scenario, we would offer virtual learning for all students in grades K-12 until it is feasible for students to return to some form of in-person instruction.

As we experienced this spring, a digital learning option requires a significant commitment from parents. Any fall digital learning experience will be more robust than what was offered in the spring, and include:

– Full school day Monday through Friday.

– More interactive and recorded sessions.

– Simplified and centralized delivery and resources.

– Access to counseling services and live academic support.

– A focus on core academic standards

To prepare for this more versatile online approach, full digital learning will likely start later in August to ensure teachers, counselors, and other staff have sufficient time to prepare.

As we did in the spring, CSD will provide Chromebooks and hotspots as necessary to support students’ learning at no cost to families.

3) A modified learning schedule.

Here’s what that would look like, according to CSD:

– School would begin as scheduled on August 4th for half of the student body; the other half’s first day would be Wednesday, August 5th.

– To maximize social distancing, students from all grade bands K-12 would be divided into A/B Groups to attend school every other day as indicated in the chart below.

– Implementing the same precautions outlined for Scenario 1.

– A digital-only option would still be available for students for whom in-person instruction is not feasible (see last paragraph in Scenario 1 for more information).

– When not at school, students complete self-directed extensions, homework, or other assignments based on their in-person learning. Teachers would not provide additional online instruction on these days.

– To the extent possible, students with special needs and/or individualized education plans would be offered additional in-person instructional time.

– We would prioritize core content academic standards.

– To the extent possible, coordination of households to ensure families can send siblings on the same days of the week.

The School District says it will provide more information about its plans for the fall no later than July 17.

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