TIGER-- Rabun County Schools returned to face-to-face instruction on Tuesday.
In December, officials announced a shift to virtual, distance-based learning for all instruction due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Superintendent April Childers said that the decision to return to face-to-face instruction Tuesday was made because of a decrease in positive COVID-19 cases among school staff and students.
Childers said that she is in close contact with the Department of Public Health and that community cases are high but trending down.
Childers said that in order to keep the schools open for face-to-face instruction, it’s important for families to notify school officials of anyone who has tested positive for or been exposed to the virus.
“To help us keep school open, we need all families to show when they’ve been exposed or had a positive test,” Childers said.
Officials recently announced in a statement that students who are exposed to, tested for COVID-19 and awaiting results or aren’t feeling well shouldn’t attend school.
“If anyone in your home is tested, please contact us at 706-212-4350 and keep your children home until you receive the results,” according to the statement. “Once you have the results, please call us back and we’ll let you know when it’s safe for your child to return to school. If your child has been exposed to someone who has tested positive, please keep your child at home and call us at 706-212-4350. We’ll let you know when it’s safe for your child to return to school.”
Childers said that the same safety precautions previously used for classroom instruction will be implemented, including social distancing in classrooms, frequently washing hands and mandating that all students on school buses wear masks.
“Our plan is the same as before because we feel like it was working well before,” Childers said.
She said that face-to-face instruction is ideal and more efficient than virtual learning due to an inconsistency in WiFi availability throughout the county, because not everyone in the county has adequate access to WiFi in order to complete their assignments.
Childers said that because it’s not possible to socially distance students on school buses, making arrangements for other types of transportation to and from school if possible is encouraged.
She said it could potentially lower risks of exposure to students even more.
“We’re doing everything we can to keep students safe,” Childers said.