Masks optional under back-to-school plan in Brantley County

BRANTLEY COUNTY, Ga. – Brantley County School System said that masks will be optional if in-person education takes place under the plans it is currently developing.

Superintendent Dr. Kim Morgan said the district’s intentions are to starts school on Aug. 4 with face-to-face learning on a traditional schedule, but there is a possibility of a hybrid schedule or at-home virtual school depending on the community spread of the virus and restrictions placed on schools at any given time during the school year.

Georgia has seen a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, with a record 2,946 cases reported Wednesday. Brantely County, which has a population of just over 19,000, has reported 96 cases and two deaths.

Dr. Morgan said there are three options for this upcoming school year:

  • Plan 1: Traditional School Monday-Friday with Increased Safety Measures and Virtual School for students because of COVID-19 or other personal issues
  • Plan 2: Hybrid Schedule where half the students would attend in person school on Monday and Wednesday and the other half on Tuesday and Thursday. The other half would be virtual. This plan is in place so if there’s a time where more restrictions are put into place the schools can implement hybrid learning. Dr. Morgan did acknowledge that this plan is not ideal for most families as it places a hardship on many working parents.
  • Plan 3: School closure requiring virtual school for all students.

For Heather Blount’s kindergartner and 3rd grader, she wants to see the hybrid option.

“It would make more sense to me if they pulled something like the hybrid class and is the students into it and I feel like that would be a better way to monitor if there is any spike,” Blount said.

Blount said she’s concerned with traditional school because of masks especially since her 5-year-old son has reactive airway disease and asthma and masks affect his oxygen intake.

She said she’s also worried about recess or gym if plan one is implemented and how that will happen, but her family has been waiting to find out more information.

“It’s really hard trying to get a plan together when they nobody still knows what they’re doing,” she said. “Not everybody could wait last minute to figure out what they’re going to do. We have jobs to work around, we’ve got daycare to work around, we’ve got other things like a normal schedule we have to work around. We can’t just sit here and wait till last minute.”

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