RCPS Superintendent Dr Terry Oatts 021720.jpg

Dr. Terry Oatts

CONYERS – Rockdale County Public Schools will offer students a choice between virtual instruction and five-days-a-week in-person instruction in the 2021-2022 school year, with teachers designated specifically for each type of instruction.

The elementary virtual option will have teachers designated solely for virtual classes; the middle and high school virtual option will be through the existing Rockdale Virtual Campus, which also has designated virtual teachers. The virtual models will parallel the five-days-a-week in-person learning option.

“As we continue to closely monitor our local, state and national public health conditions, we remain committed to prioritizing our student and staff safety and well-being as we actively plan for the 2021-2022 school year,” said Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts. “We will continue to give our families options that work best for them by offering a parallel virtual option for our K-12 students. What makes the virtual option ‘parallel’ is that those students who choose the virtual option will receive virtual instruction exclusively by those teachers designated as virtual teachers separately from those students who choose in-person instruction.”

RCPS will soon make the virtual option enrollment process available for parents who prefer the virtual option for the 2021-2022 school year. This enrollment process will feature only the virtual option because the default option is for five full days a week of in-person instruction. Parents who prefer the in-person option do not need to complete the virtual option enrollment process.

“RCPS has, in many ways, been a model for the state for its leadership during this public health crisis,” said Oatts. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last spring, we have carefully and consistently monitored our local public health data, collaborated with local and state public health officials, and proactively planned so that our district and schools could effectively provide continuity of instructional and operational services and support to our students.”

Despite the increasing availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, Oatts said the school system will likely need to continue to maintain mitigation measures into the next school year.

These mitigation measures include mandatory mask wearing, social distancing and regular handwashing. Additionally, RCPS has implemented a rigorous cleaning protocol that incorporates both specialized equipment and cleaners that effectively neutralize COVID-19. RCPS will be installing specialized filters and other ventilation enhancement products within its HVAC systems in keeping with public health guidance.

In addition to the mitigation measures, RCPS offers COVID-19 testing free of charge for students, staff and their families. RCPS is the first district in the state to provide comprehensive testing as part of the district’s telehealth services through Kids’-Doc-On-Wheels. More than 1,100 employees and students have taken advantage of COVID-19 testing to date, and RCPS will continue to offer the testing throughout this school year and will reassess its testing strategy for the 2021-2022 school year. For more information on COVID-19 testing and testing schedules, visit www.rockdaleschools.org/covid19testing.

For the latest updates on RCPS virtual and in-person options, as well as COVID-19 mitigation measures, please visit www.rockdaleschools.org/reopening.

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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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