As public schools debate whether to reopen or continue online learning, local private schools have begun putting together reopening plans for the fall.
As of Friday, Darlington School plans to reopen on Aug. 17 and has special plans in place to allow boarding students to live on campus as well.
"We agree with the American Academy of Pediatricians that children need to be in school, and a dedicated group of Darlington faculty has been hard at work this spring and summer planning for a safe opening of school," Tannika King, director of communications, said.
"Guided by recommendations from the CDC, the Georgia Department of Public Health, and the Georgia Department of Education, we continue to refine a fluid plan of action that is feasible, practical, and tailored to the needs of our unique community."
According to King, Darlington administrators formed a “Health of the Community Committee” to set guidelines and determine if it would be OK to reopen. The committee has gone over airflow in buildings, food service, when and where masks will be needed and a rotating schedule for students to ensure risks are minimized.
Like many public universities, Darlington will require all students and faculty to wear cloth face coverings. Cleaning staff will be spending extra time each day sanitizing surfaces that are deemed “high contact” and “high touch,” King said. Day students will most likely be asked to leave earlier in the evening to allow staff the time to do this.
Athletics will follow the guidelines set by their governing bodies, such as the Georgia High School Association, U.S. Soccer, Professional Golfers’ Association Section of Georgia and United States Tennis Association.
King said teachers have also been preparing for hybrid classes all summer to accommodate students who are at high risk and can’t attend in-person classes. They have also started updating their online learning management system for these students as well.
“We have put into place a new set of course standards and lesson templates to help create a consistent and productive learning environment for students, whether they are in the classroom or not,” King said.
For boarding students, there’s a new set of policies to help prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus. If there is an outbreak, a residence hall has been set up as an isolation/quarantine zone.
Unity Christian School is moving forward with plans to reopen Aug. 10, according to special events coordinator Jeannie King.
A set of guidelines will be sent out to parents and published on the school’s website next week.