The high school, with an enrollment of about 700 students, faces different challenges. Each student has varied course offerings and a unique schedule that requires more movement from class to class. A high number of high school students are enrolled in career and technical education classes necessitating hands-on application. But in facing these challenges, we know that our high school students have the ability and maturity to be independent learners. With all this in mind, we are altering the in-person high school students’ schedules to an “A/B” schedule to begin the year. HCHS students who are in-person will either attend Monday and Tuesday (A) or Wednesday and Thursday (B). In-person students will be in the building two days a week and complete work and participate from home three days a week. We will reassess this plan at timed increments and return to a more traditional schedule when we feel we can provide a safe yet still interactive environment for the full student enrollment.
This schedule change will allow high school students to more effectively social distance with smaller classroom sizes and fewer students moving through the halls during arrival, class changes, lunch times and dismissal. Our middle school and elementary schools have altered their schedules and traffic patterns to minimize movement throughout the school day, leading to a reduction in exposure risk.
The priority on Fridays will be to deep clean all our facilities and to provide time for teachers to direct their full attention to students engaged in online learning. Additionally, teachers will be able to review the past week, make any needed adjustments to school protocols and practices for improved efficiency and quality of learning and communicate adjustments to both in-person and online learners.
We understand that these schedule changes could result in inconvenience for some of our families, and we apologize for that. However, we hope these changes also make some of our families more comfortable with our in-person option and provide our Online Academy students with a more routine schedule as well.
Please keep in mind that HCPS wants to keep students’ education as fluid as possible when some students will be working solely from home, others will be in-person with scheduled days working off campus, and still others may need to miss chunks of in-person time due to illness or restrictions. All efforts are being made to allow an equitable, quality educational experience to all of our students.
As is necessary, we will make sure that our in-person students who need to transition to learning from home do so as quickly as possible. This will not be the case with transitioning from online to in-person. We will need time to make that change and ensure our safety expectations are continued with fidelity after adding additional in-person students at a particular school. So schools will offer reentry to in-person instruction at designated dates for our online students who make that choice. The first reentry date will either be at the end of the first nine-weeks grading period, November 4, 2020, or the end of the first semester, January 22, 2020, whichever timeline makes the most sense for the in-person environment in that specific school.
If these proposed schedule changes are approved by the Board of Education, additional details will be communicated in the coming weeks.
As always, Henry County Public Schools will continue to monitor the situation and make changes as needed and/or recommended by local, state and federal authorities. Please feel free to contact your school or the Board of Education if you have questions about our reopening plans, and we invite you to tune into our virtual Town Hall on Facebook Live on Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 6:30pm where we will talk more about our plans and answer questions from our families. Your patience and cooperation is appreciated as we continue to gather more information and respond to your questions.
If you have not yet completed your student’s online registration, please do so NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, AUG. 7. This information, especially if you have chosen in-person classes or online learning at home, will help us further develop our plans including class size, teacher assignments, bus routes and more. Students that have not enrolled will not begin either in-person or online classes on the first day of school until the parent or guardian has completed the enrollment process.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.