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Georgia Department of Education releases additional information regarding COVID-19 and public schools

Georgia Department of Education releases additional information regarding COVID-19 and public schools

More information: gadoe.org/coronavirus

MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office, 404-416-2286, mfrick@doe.k12.ga.us

*Please follow phone calls with a text message if possible.

March 12, 2020 – As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia rises, Governor Brian Kemp shared information regarding school closures during a 3 p.m. press conference. See below from Governor Kemp’s office, and click here for the full release and to view video of the press conference.

From Governor Kemp’s Office (click here):

Local school systems have already implemented some limited closures in specific areas to deal with recent presumed positive and confirmed cases of COVID-19. During the press conference, Governor Kemp made it clear that day cares, schools, and school districts have the freedom to implement further closures as early as Friday, March 13, for the next two weeks.

 

"The Georgia Department of Education, University System of Georgia, Technical College System, and local school leaders have been invaluable partners to determine the best measures to protect students, teachers, and administrators," said Governor Kemp. "We believe in local control for all systems when it comes to making the best decisions for their communities. They have flexibility, and regardless of whether they stay open or decide to close, we will support their decision."

From the Georgia Department of Education

Governor Kemp, State School Superintendent Richard Woods, and staff members from the Governor’s Office and Georgia Department of Education held a call with local school superintendents at 4 p.m. to address any questions.

The Georgia Department of Education will post any school closings as they are announced by local school districts to gadoe.org/coronavirus.

“I appreciate Governor Kemp’s leadership in ensuring our school districts have the flexibility and support to make the best decision for their students,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “I encourage our local school leaders to make decisions with the safety of their students and staff in mind. My department will be here to support you every step of the way.”

Distance Learning

School districts across Georgia have been preparing for potential closures for several weeks. GaDOE advised districts to develop a plan to continue student learning should they need to close, using resources such as study packets, cable access, virtual school/online classes, etc. GaDOE’s office of Teaching and Learning has compiled virtual educational resources that are available at gadoe.org/coronavirus, and we continue to work with industry partners to develop additional resources.

School Meals

We know food insecurity for students who rely on school meals is a major concern if extended school closures become necessary. GaDOE has sought approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for alternate meal service flexibility in the case of extended closures. This would allow schools to serve students meals through USDA approved meal service options, at approved sites within the community. USDA has committed to reviewing these waiver requests quickly in light of concerns about COVID-19. GaDOE will inform local districts and schools as soon as we receive USDA’s response.

Assessment & Accountability

We know there are concerns regarding the state’s assessment and accountability systems and the impact of COVID-19 and related closures on these policies. We are closely monitoring events and are developing contingency plans for both the assessment and accountability systems based on different scenarios. The priority must remain the safety and well-being of students and adults. We will stay in contact with the U.S. Department of Education and will make adjustments as needed to our policies to accommodate districts. The specific adjustments will depend on the course of events; however districts, schools, parents and students should know that we will make adjustments as necessary.​ 

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