COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The first round of Muscogee County School District students are heading back to the classroom. Pre-K through second graders returned back to the classroom on the morning of Aug. 6, while grades three through twelve will be heading back to the classroom on Monday Aug. 9.
A universal mask mandate is currently in place for the Muscogee County School District as the peach state sees a rise in COVID-19 cases, but Superintendent of Education for the Muscogee County School District Dr. David Lewis said he’s hopeful the mandate will not be necessary for long.
Dr. Lewis says the staggering of start dates for students in the district has actually helped get kids back in the swing of in-person learning.
“The reason we do the staggered start, that was one of the benefits coming out of the pandemic, we heard great things from our parents last year and our teachers of the Pre-K through 2 to help the students get acclimated to that first day,” said Dr. Lewis. “And this gives them the opportunity to do that all by themselves and then like I said we’ll start back on Monday with grades 3-12.”
However, another issue the district, like many across the state and even nation are facing is a shortage of bus drivers. The shortage may cause arrival delays for some students as the district is working to fill these positions and also workout the normal unexpected issues that arise during the first few weeks back.
“As a result of that we’ll have some late arriving buses and it’s always difficult in the first couple weeks of school anyways getting schedules down,” said Dr. Lewis.
Dr. Lewis wants to assure parents and students there will be no penalization for those who are late due to the shortage and they’re working on accommodating the students it will be affecting.
“It’s not their fault. It’s really no ones fault. Like I said we’re trying to recruit applicants for these positions,” said Dr. Lewis. “But they will not be held responsible and we’re actually trying to adjust some of our schedules at our high schools to accommodate any late buses that might come. So that if they miss a first period they might be able to make that up in an eighth period if it’s going to be a protracted delay.”
Dr. Lewis is encouraging parents who can carpool or drive their children to school to do so to help prevent potential delays until the positions are filled.
He also wants to remind parents and students to give themselves enough time for drop-off and pick-up since it has been awhile since the last regular school year.
“We are concerned and want to encourage everyone to take their time. Give themselves adequate time and be very careful because kids are very unpredictable this time of year in terms of running out in front of cars that sort of thing so just adhere to local school operations,” said Dr. Lewis. “Plan for picking up and dropping off students and give yourself plenty of time.”