Samantha Fuhrey


COVINGTON — The Newton County School System on Monday received guidance from the Georgia Department of Education with considerations and recommendations for a safe return to in-person instruction in the fall 2020. NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey said she along with other district leaders will review the guidance and utilize the information provided to assist with the school system’s reentry plans for the upcoming school year.

“We appreciate the information provided by the Georgia Department of Education today,” said Fuhrey. “We are reviewing the document and its recommendations to determine how we can use the information to strengthen the plans we have been developing since our schools were officially closed.”

Fuhrey added, “We began making plans for the upcoming school year soon after Gov.Kemp closed schools for the remainder of the year. There are a myriad of challenges that must be considered and addressed before bringing students and staff back to school as their health and safety is our number one priority.”

According to Fuhrey, before finalizing plans for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, the school district will reach out to both parents and students for feedback on everything from their thoughts about online instruction to transportation and in-person schooling.

“We will also continue to monitor the rate of the spread of COVID-19 in our community to determine if we need to revamp our school calendar,” she said. “As it stands, our plan is to return as scheduled on Aug. 3, but our start date may need to be adjusted to meet the guidance of the Georgia Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and our local health department officials. We will revisit the beginning of the year activities and events to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our students, families, and staff. Open house and new student registration procedures will be adjusted to comply with guidelines provided to us by medical professionals.”

Fuhrey noted that the guidance received Monday from the Georgia Department of Education complemented guidance from other agencies, including the Georgia Department of Public Health, that the district is using to make determinations for next school year.

“Ultimately our goal is to provide a safe environment for students and staff that is conducive to learning,” said Fuhrey. “Our plan will be fluid and adaptable so that we can easily shift from in-person instruction to virtual learning should an outbreak occur at one or more schools or throughout the district. There are so many variables that need to be considered, more than many may realize, and I want to take this opportunity to assure our students, staff, parents, and the Newton County community that we have been working diligently to make sure we are prepared for the 2020-2021 school year.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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