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Students shift to distance learning for two-week window

The Decatur County School System announced Friday that students will shift to distance learning starting next week due to not enough staff members and faculty.

Superintendent Tim Cochran said in a post that it has been the school system’s ultimate goal to continue with in person learning, but as of Friday they have hit a point where they are struggling to have enough staff members to effectively serve the students and operate the bus routes.

For that reason, the school system will shift to distance learning for a two-week window. Students were given their Google Chromebooks on Friday before leaving school and are not expected to login until Tuesday.

Cochran explained that teachers will prepare their online lessons over the weekend and begin instructing students on their expected work and online schedule on Tuesday, August 24.

“We know it is late notice, but currently we have approximately 40 staff members out and I believe I will get more calls over the weekend,” Cochran said. “Our hope is that by telling parents on Friday they can make adequate child care plans over the weekend.”

Cochran said the school system’s plan is to operate virtual learning just as they did last year.

The school will be pushing out a schedule of where the Wi-Fi busses will be located and at what time on Monday to all parents.

Cochran said all schools and school parking lots will still have Wi-Fi, if people need to use that location.

Additionally, the School Nutrition System is planning to continue with their community feeding just as they did last year. Parents will be notified of pick up locations on Monday.

Cochran said they anticipate for meal pickups to be throughout the day on Tuesdays, with five days’ worth of meals inside.

At this time, all extracurricular activities will continue as planned, including the Coffee County football game set for Friday, August 27.

Cochran explained that there is currently enough staff to drive busses to this game, along with other athletic competitions, because the regular drivers are not bussing kids to and from school.

However, the vaccine drive scheduled for August 25 has had to be postponed and scheduled for a later date.

Cochran said the DCBOE’s plan is to return to face to face instruction on Tuesday, September 7. He encourages all parents to reach out to their child’s teacher if they have any additional questions at this time.