Phased Model for Face-to-Face Instruction

The 2020-2021 school year will begin on Monday, August 17, 2020, for all students. In alignment with Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 schools, after consistent consultation with local and state health officials who continue to evaluate cases of COVID-19 in Cobb County, all students will begin the year in remote learning classrooms. We continue to believe the face-to-face classroom is the best classroom environment for most students and we remain committed to providing parents with a face-to-face and remote classroom choice.

Phase One’s start date will be determined by analyzing public health data specific to Cobb County provided by the Department of Public Health and the Cobb/Douglas Board of Health including the level of community spread, effective contact tracing, and efficient COVID-19 test timelines. When we are able to safely offer a face-to-face classroom option and a remote classroom option, we will use the following phased model.

*Phase One: All kindergarten through fifth-grade students for full-day instruction. ASP will resume for students in face-to-face classrooms. All kindergarten through twelfth-grade low incidence special education classes will have a face-to-face option starting in phase one.

*Phase Two: All sixth through eighth-grade students for full-day instruction. Phase two will begin two weeks after the start date of phase one.

*Phase Three: All ninth through twelfth-grade students for full-day instruction. Phase three will begin two weeks after the start date of phase two.

Prior to the start of each phase, parents will be given the opportunity to choose between the face-to-face option and the full-remote option.

We continue to be committed to re-entering face-to-face classrooms when public health conditions in Cobb County allow. Knowing COVID-19 has impacted each student, family, and staff member differently, we also look forward to offering parents the ability to choose the classroom setting which is best for their family.

When COVID-19 first closed our buildings, Superintendent Ragsdale committed to making decisions based on public health guidance with student and staff safety being the top priority. The decision to begin the school year in remote classrooms, with a phased re-entry to face-to-face classrooms as public health conditions in Cobb County allow, is the best way to honor those commitments to our students, parents, and staff.

We continue to actively listen to the concerns of our community and staff during this public health crisis and are adapting the way we serve our community based on student, parent, and staff feedback. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and partnership as we safely serve all students and families in Cobb County.

*Phase start dates are subject to change based on COVID-19 conditions specific to Cobb County.

**K-12 low incidence classes will return with phase one and will include students with needs which include: Autism Bridge (K-8), Autism Integrated (K-12), Deaf/Hard of Hearing (SNP-12), Emotional-Behavior Disorder (K-8), Focus (K-1), HAVEN Skyview and Satellite (K-12), Mild Intellectual Disability (K-12), Moderate Intellectual Disability (K-12), Orthopedic Impairment (K-12), Severe and Profound Disability (K-12), Special Needs Preschool (3 and 4-year-olds), Transition Academy (19-22-year-olds), and Visual Impairments (K-12).

July 16th Update

During the July Board Meeting, Superintendent Chris Ragsdale announced that our district will be moving to full remote to begin the 2020-2021 school year. Since COVID-19 became part of our daily life here in Cobb, the Superintendent has relied on state and county public health experts to inform decision-making which prioritizes student and staff safety.

“This decision has been weighing on me for a while. I know we need to get back to face-to-face instruction. That is why we tried to offer parents two options—in-person and remote—to start the school year. Unfortunately, public health guidance does not make that possible,” said Superintendent Ragsdale. Our teachers are awesome, and they will continue to do an awesome job virtually, but nothing takes the place of in person instruction from our Cobb County teachers. I am not setting a timeline for how long our students will engage in virtual learning. We will continue to monitor the data and work with public health officials so we can open for face-to-face instruction as soon as humanly possible.”

As the Superintendent said, this was not an easy decision to make and our team made every effort to keep our face-to-face classrooms available. However, based on the most up-to-date public health guidance and data in Cobb County, we really only had one choice. We will remain fully remote until public health data in Cobb County changes and guidance from state and local public health officials recommends it. At this time, the District is not postponing or delaying the start of fall athletics. We will continue to follow the direction of GHSA. However, other extracurricular activities (ASP, after school clubs) will be suspended until after students return for face-to-face instruction.

This decision is motivated by a commitment to keep our students and staff healthy and safe. We are equally committed to ensuring that learning can happen everywhere. As teachers return for the 2020-2021 school year, all teachers will be trained in effective remote learning practices, and the District will be providing as many devices (including tablets and laptops) as possible to students who do not have devices at home. Details about device distribution to families in need will be communicated through your local school.

Thanks to years of investment, and the recent commitment to education made by the Cobb Commissioners, Cobb Schools is better prepared for a move to full remote than most districts. Students, teachers, and parents will be able to login to one platform for all student learning during the fall of 2020. The Cobb Teaching and Learning System (CTLS) will be introduced to all parents and students and will enable learning to happen effectively and conveniently from a remote classroom or the living room.

“Our teachers are why this county has one of the best districts in the country,” said Board Chair Brad Wheeler. “Teaching and learning remotely will be a challenge just because it is so different but keeping our staff and students safe is number one. If anyone can make remote learning effective, it is this county, with our teachers, and our leadership. We have prepared for this, we have invested for this scenario, and we will be teaching students until this COVID thing has run its course.”

We do look forward to students returning to face-to-face classrooms as soon as public health guidance and data allows for it, and we will continue to keep the community updated at  Details for the 2020-2021 school year will continue to be found at here. Check back often for updates as they become available.

UPDATED 7/27 – Does Your Family Need a Device?

If your family needs access to a device, please contact your local school to make your request. The district will provide as many as we are able, though not every request can be accommodated.