Students in Rome City Schools will be taking off the next two Mondays after the school board approved a proposal to use those days as teacher work days.

Superintendent Lou Byars proposed the measure during the board’s meeting on Tuesday. The board approved Sept. 20 and 27 as teacher work days.

“Because our students have been having lunch in the classrooms, our teachers have been using their planning period to cover other classes as a result,” Byars told the school board. “We want to give them an opportunity to plan their lessons and give our students an opportunity to catch up on any lost class time due to being quarantined.”

The school system is still quarantining students after a COVID-19 exposure but not regularly reporting the number of quarantined students. Neither is the Floyd County school system. The county school system is not requiring students to quarantine after an exposure.

As part of the plan going forward, Rome schools will continue to require students to wear masks indoors and on buses and students will also continue to take lunches in their classrooms until fall break on Oct. 11. The system refers to the set of protocols as Phase Two.

Byars said they will review the COVID-19 numbers after the fall break and make a decision on how to go forward at that point.

“We are seeing the mitigation plan we have in place helping to decrease the COVID numbers in some of our schools,” Byars said in a release. “Currently, there are no plans to move to Phase Three at this time. We have looked at the pros and cons of virtual learning. By allowing our students to attend in person classes, we know that they are taking the proper precautions and wearing masks.”

The two local school systems enacted separate COVID-19 policies this school year.

Rome began its year without taking additional COVID-19 precautions, although it had a plan for enacting Phase Two — including masks — on a school by school basis when 1% of the student and staff population is infected. Phase Three would involve a school or the system shifting to remote instruction.

The Floyd County school system opened this school year with “pre pandemic school operations.” The school board later adopted COVID-19 protocols, on Aug. 20, including mask mandates for each school once their student population goes over a 2% infection rate. Individual schools would go virtual after a 5% infection rate.

No schools in the Floyd County school system are currently observing COVID-19 mitigation practices, according to the school system’s daily report.

Both school systems have offered COVID-19 vaccination programs through Floyd Medical Center including pop up clinics at football games.

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