While the coronavirus pandemic continues, Fulton County Schools officials are looking ahead to what school looks like this fall, FCS Superintendent Mike Looney said during a Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce forum May 26.
Looney said the district is exploring three options at this time: return to a traditional school day with traditional instruction; start the year with remote learning and switch to in-person instruction; or implement a hybrid version of remote and in-person schooling. All three scenarios will be presented to the Fulton County Schools Board of Education representatives at the June 9 meeting, he said.
Looney also mentioned discussion among FCS officials about adjusting COVID-19 measures for the fall to fit individual schools rather than implementing districtwide measures.
"One of the things that we've been working on as a school district is rethinking whether it has to be all schools doing the same thing or whether we should be managing flareups of COVID-19 in specific school communities and [allowing] the rest of our schools to continue with the traditional structure," Looney said.
An official decision on what school looks like this fall for FCS students, staff and faculty is expected to be announced in early July, Looney said.
Additionally, Gov. Brian Kemp's budget office and leaders of the Georgia House and Senate budget committees sent a memo in early May to all state agencies, including FCS, asking them to redevelop the fiscal year 2020-21 budget and anticipate a 14% reduction from their original budgeted base. However, Looney said the district is in a financially sound position and does not anticipate mass layoffs or furloughs.
"Many of our costs in school districts are fixed and not variable, so unless we're going to lay off a mass amount of teachers, we don't anticipate a significant reduction in expenses. We're just going to have to rethink how we do some things and tighten our belts in some ways," he said. "Our school board, ever since the 2009 recession, has required that we prepare for a day such as this. So we are in a financially sound position and anticipate being able to weather this storm over the next 12 months."
Fulton County Schools officials begin to explore options for fall reopening
Fulton County Schools officials are in the beginning planning stages for reopening schools this fall. (Screenshot via Zoom)