COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions About School Operations Skip to main content

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions About School Operations

We truly are all in this public health emergency together.  We encourage you to be calm and patient, and embrace facts not fear. Seek accurate information about our school operations by using this frequently asked questions resource.

Our district is faced with some very diverse and complex challenges about the return to school. These range from one end of the spectrum to the other in relation to community concerns and government guidance. 

Since our school district closed on March 16, our district has worked on plans to return to school.  Our plan for the new school year is to return on Monday, August 17, 2020, and to allow parents a choice of either a traditional face-to-face or virtual instructional model for their children. 

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Below are additional answers to frequently asked questions by category.

Virtual Instruction Model Questions
  • Read about our virtual instruction model.
  • Virtual Platforms
    • The school district will use SchoolsPLP for grades K-5 and Edgenuity for grades 6-12. 
    • Parents are asked to commit to one platform or the other for the semester. It is in students' best interest not to randomly switch back and for between the traditional and virtual models.
    • The traditional and virtual models course curriculum will both use the same instructional pacing guide.
    • Edgenuity has been used successfully in the school district for more than 10 years for course credit recovery and course acceleration. 
    • For most courses students will be provided with whole group instruction through the platform (SchoolsPLP or Edgenuity).
    • The SchoolsPLP and Edgenuity courses are not taught by Bulloch County Schools' teachers, but will be monitored by the school district's certified teachers, and they will monitor progress, schedule periodic check-ins to check students' well being, and provide supplemental instruction (such as small groups, remediation, or enrichment) through Google Classroom and/or the platforms. 
  • Course Offerings:
    • Edgenuity Course Catalog    Edgenuity national course list    Edgenuity State Course List
    • Returning students have already registered for their classes for the 2020-2021 school year. This was done prior to schools closing in the spring. 
    • The school district's protocol for students whose parents choose the virtual learning program is to then follow up with a mandatory academic advisement with the student. School counselors will discuss any alternative course options then if needed to ensure students remain on their grade-level and graduation track.
    • Most courses are available in the virtual learning program, but there are a few exceptions.
    • Most core content courses and most Advanced Placement courses that are currently taught in our high schools are available.
    • The school district will develop courses for STEM and gifted.
    • Some elective courses may use a blended model since all areas are not available in Edgenuity and SchoolsPLP. The school district will develop honors courses, fine arts, and Career Technical & Agricultural Education courses as well as connections, specials, and exploratory classes.
    • Traditional academic classes will be offered through the virtual program.
    • Gifted services will be available for students in the virtual instruction model.  For elementary and middle school students in the gifted Quest program, the district will utilize the existing curriculum with which the students are already familiar for both virtual and traditional instruction:  Noetic Math and Envisions units for elementary students and the Renzulli Learning System for middle school.  These curriculum resources are used in many gifted programs.
  • Course Supplies: Virtual courses in Edgenuity and SchoolsPLP may require certain materials to be printed.  These resources will be provided to students by the school district. Families will not be expected to print or provide these materials.
  • Parent Orientation: The school district will provide parents an orientation video and support information for the virtual platforms the week of August 10.  Parents and students will not have access to the virtual platforms until August 17.
  • Athletic Eligibility: Courses within the Edgenuity virtual platform for grades 6-12 are NCAA approved.  We have altered some of the Edgenuity courses, but we have taken the necessary steps to ensure these courses remain approved.
  • Student Support Services & Special Education: Our school district is mandated to provide the support services students need to be successful in school and receive a quality, basic education whether that is in our virtual or traditional instruction model. 
  • Student Support Services & Special Education: The virtual option is available for students who receive special education services, but there are limitations.  Our Special Education Department is available to speak to families directly about their child's specific needs   Speech therapy and occupational therapy will be offered virtually, but delivery is determined by a student's individual need.  If the parent selects the virtual option for their child who receives special education services, this will necessitate an amendment to the child's individualized education plan.  The school's individualized education plan committee will then meet with parents to determine the best delivery method of services.
  • Student Support Services & Special Education: If your child needs evaluation/testing for special needs services and supports,  or if you have specific questions about how your child's special education needs will be provided, please contact either the special education coordinator at your child's school or the school district's Special Education Department.
  • Pre-Kindergarten: Bulloch County Schools received approval from Bright from the Start to allow  parents of the school district's Pre-K students the individual choice of either virtual or traditional instruction. Our school district's Pre-Kindergarten Department will contact parents of registered Pre-K students directly to inform them of available instruction models. If you did not receive a call, please contact our Pre-K Department to ensure we have your correct contact information or contact your zoned elementary school. 
    • The virtual instruction for Pre-K will not be within the SchoolsPLP platform that will be used for K-5 instruction. 
    • Pre-K teachers will use a combination of livestreamed whole group lessons via Google Meet and pre-recorded whole group lessons that will be posted to Google Classroom.
    • Google Meets and Google Classroom are existing instructional technology tools within the school district's Google G-Suite for Education programs used by all teachers and students.
    • Small group Pre-K activities and independent meetings will be scheduled during the school day and conducted via Google Meet. 
  • Teacher Training: The school district began professional development in virtual instruction methods for teacher leaders this summer. This training includes how to use the virtual curriculum platforms to enhance our virtual instruction and remediation. Teacher leaders and district staff will deliver additional training to all administrators and teachers during pre-planning. 
  • How will teachers and paraprofessionals be assigned to work in the virtual format? 
    • First, the district will make an effort to place teachers and paraprofessionals who have reported to Human Resources a documented reason why they are unable to return to the traditional environment. The district will attempt to place them at their current schools.
    • Second, the district will place teachers who submitted an application to teach in the virtual program and try to assign them to work with students from their current school who enrolled in the virtual program.
    • Teachers who choose to work with the virtual program are not guaranteed to be able to move back to their previous placement. However, when the position opens up, the district will follow it's normal job transfer process and those teachers will have priority for those positions.
    • These assignments are fluid and will shift as needed for the second semester. 
  • Expectations for Bulloch County Schools' Teachers in the virtual format: 
    • Not responsible to provide initial direct instruction for grade level content. This will be done through SchoolsPLP (K-5) and Edgenuity (6-12).
    • Monitor each student's progress weekly and provide remediation and enrichment for students as needed.
    • Adhere to required office hours to be available to students who may need to contact teacher for assistance.  Office hours will need to include times that are in the afternoons or evenings to accommodate families. Office hours may be required to be conducted at the school.
    • Effort will be made to place teachers assigned to the virtual program so that they can work with students from their school. 
Traditional Instruction Model Questions

These are key points about the public health precautions that the school district has implemented district-wide for 2020-2021:

  • Face Masks:
    • Masks will be strongly encouraged, especially in settings where social distancing is difficult to accomplish: buses, hallway transitions, school meal distribution, student drop-off and pick-up, etc.
    • Each student and employee will be offered and provided with a washable, reusable mask on day one of school. These will remain available to on a limited basis for those who need one on buses and in schools and offices.
    • Personal face masks must be in accordance with dress code
    • Students will be encouraged to keep up with their personal masks.
    • Additional masks will be available from the front office upon request.
    • Communicated process in place for each teacher to have a set number of available masks
  • Social Distancing 
    • In classrooms: Social distance when feasible; Remove extra furniture when feasible; Primary assigned seating when feasible
    • At Recess: Stay with class when possible
    • During Student Drop Off/Pick Up: Each school will develop a plan that is appropriate to their school to maintain social distancing.
    • School Bus Loading & Unloading: Additional staging areas and staff will be put in place to oversee this process at each school.
    • At Student Lockers: Our middle and high schools will not utilize hallway lockers.  Middle schools will also eliminate locker use in locker rooms; however, high schools will still use locker room lockers. Elementary schools do not have lockers.
    • Physical Education Locker Rooms:  Middle and high schools will not require students to dress out for physical education in order to participate.
    • School & Office Signage: Enter and Exit signs for all doors and directional signs on floors to better manage foot traffic flow inside buildings
    • Directional Signage for Building Traffic Flow to Accommodate Social Distancing:
      • Enter/Exit signs for doors to direct traffic flow for social distancing
      • Directional signs for floors to direct traffic flow for social distancing
    • Extra-curricular events, meetings, and field trips: 
      • Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) meetings will be all held virtually.
      • Performances and assemblies are suspended until further notice.
      • Monitoring/supervision will be in place to dispel and discourage congregating in common areas.
      • Middle/High clubs will be monitored to ensure social distancing is feasible with group size (perhaps consider multiple meetings).
  • Health Screening Protocols:
    • The school district will follow the Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Department of Public Health's guidelines for Screening for and Responding to COVID-19 in K-12 Schools found on page three of the Georgia's Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools.
    • School district employees ( for self) and parents/guardians (for students) are expected to monitor their own / their child's health for COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of senses of taste and smell each day prior to arrival at our schools and offices.
    • Employees and students should stay home if they are sick or if they believe they have COVID-19 symptoms, and they should seek medical assistance if needed
    • All schools have a Nurse's office staffed with either a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse
    • If a student develops COVID-19-like symptoms during the day, he or she must notify an adult at the school immediately (as age appropriate).
    • If an employee develops COVID-19-like symptoms during the day, he or she will be sent home immediately.
    • Designated isolation area for students who become sick at school with COVID19-like symptoms to be monitored until a parent arrives
    • School nurses will contact the Department of Public Health to notify the epidemiologist of and COVID-19 incidents
    • Communicate health screening self-check guidelines and Department of Public Health testing options to parents and employees.
    • Hygiene tips and illness prevention signs throughout buildings in English and Spanish
    • Additional digital thermometers will be provided to each school's nurse's station.
  • Hygiene
    • Hand Sanitizer:  The school district will provide each school, office, and other facilities with individual bottles (small pump bottles approximately one-quart size) of hand sanitizer, and one-gallon jugs to refill the quart-size bottles.
    • Hand Sanitizer Stations: The school district will provide a certain number of hand sanitizer dispenser that hold one-gallon jugs of hand sanitizer.  These stands will be placed in main hallways, commons areas, cafeterias, and other high traffic areas as determined by each school's leadership.
    •  Hygiene Signs:  Signs with hygiene and illness prevention tips throughout buildings in English and Spanish
  • Clean/Disinfect Schools & Facilities
    • Custodian Training: Each school has a custodian team. These teams received training in March for how to perform deep cleaning techniques and increased daily routines to effectively combat COVID-19, and they have implemented them effectively since that time.
    • Cleansers/Cleaning Supplies: The school district already had a cleanser in use called, Hyperfect, which is effective for the disinfection of surfaces, including COVID-19. The district has supplied additional spray bottles, Hyperfect, and microfiber cloths for all facilities, and the district has secured proper inventories of each to keep all facilities supplied throughout the school year. Custodian teams will keep the spray bottles filled with the proper mixture of Hyperfect, and one will be placed in each classroom, office, and facility area as well as at least two microfiber cloths. Each school is responsible to launder the microfiber cloths.
    • Mist/Fog Machines and AirX Disinfectant:  The school district has provided each school, office, and other facilities with a mist/fog machine and AirX pre-mixed solution disinfectant to disinfect large or hard-to-spray areas. This equipment may be used at the discretion of the principal or principal designee to prophylactically disinfect areas where a greater level of hygiene may be desired (such as a weight room/locker room). Each principal should designate one member of their custodial staff to serve as a member of a task force that can be called to respond as requested to assist in disinfecting a school(s) throughout the district if needed. 
    • Disinfecting Wipes:  The school district will provide disinfecting wipes to schools.  These are intended for the front entrance staff to wipe off reception counters in high traffic areas. Disinfecting wipes are not intended to be used in classrooms or other areas. Parents are not expected to provide disinfecting wipes as a school supply item.  No school supply lists should include this item.
    • Classrooms: (to include art/music/STEM): Teachers will spray and wipe the desks between classes. Administrators and other designated personnel will monitor and supervise students in the hallways while this occurs.
    • Cafeteria: Tables will be sanitized/cleaned between each class change
    • Food Service Area: Food service personnel will clean this area
    • Bathrooms: Will be cleaned frequently.
    • Media Centers and Books:
      • Media specialists will sanitize and clean the library.
      • Media center will be fogged at the end of each day.
      • Media center books in circulation that are returned will be quarantined for one day before being reshelved.
    • Gyms & Physical Education Areas: Equipment will be cleaned before the next use.
    • Locker Rooms:
      • Locker rooms will be disinfected between each class use.
      • Students are not required to dress out for physical education. 
      • Locker rooms for athletic team use have separate protocols that will be communicated to athletes, coaches and trainers.
    • Computers, Chromebooks, & Devices: All devices will be wiped with sanitizer between users.
    • Playground Equipment: Currently, there is no feasible solution to sanitize outdoor playground equipment
    • Music, Band, and Career Technical Agricultural Education Equipment:
      • All equipment will be with sanitized between users.
      • Singing and wind instruments are not permitted at this time per Department of Public Health and Georgia Music Educators Association guidelines.
    • Office Areas: Will be cleaned by the office staff. The school district has provided each office with the appropriate supplies.
  • Water fountains 
    • All water fountains throughout the school district will be closed at all locations this school year.
    • Students and staff are asked to bring their own personal water bottles from home to use while at school. 
    • The school district will deliver bottles of water to schools to be given to students and staff who may have forgotten to bring bottles of water. 
  • Visitor Protocols:
    • We will follow Bulloch County Schools' established Visitors' Protocols for safety and security with the following additional restrictions:
      • Parents can not walk children to class during the first two weeks of school.
      • Only students and staff will be allowed to eat meals with the class. 
      • Parent meetings will be encouraged to occur online or via a non face-to-face venue.
      • Other events involving visitors coming into the building will be limited until further notice.
    • Representatives from post-secondary institutions, business & industry partners, and military partners will be able to come into the schools to support student learning experiences.
    • General visitors will not be allowed to come and eat lunch with students.
    • School vendors (i.e.,yearbook, class rings, etc…) whose services cannot be provided virtually will be allowed to enter the schools on a case-by- case basis. 
    • Structured mentor partnerships will be continued following a formal agreement between the district and the mentor(s).
    • The  in-school aspects of the 4H program provided by Bulloch County office of the University Extension Service, and the Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education  and Gang Resistance Education and Training programs provided by the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office will continue to support student learning experiences.
  •  Contact Notification and Contact Tracing of COVID-19 Positive Persons
    • All contact notification and contact tracing is the sole responsibility of the rightful public health authority, the Southeast District Department of Public Health.  
    • The school district will report any known COVID-19 positive cases to the Southeast Health District.
  • School Meals - Cafeteria Food Service
    • ​​​​​​​Encourage hand-washing/hand-sanitizer before and after eating snacks/meals
    • Designated flow paths for entrance and exit of cafeteria
    • Rotating basis between classrooms & cafeteria to provide appropriate social distancing in cafeteria, where feasible
    • If eating in the lunchroom, children will sit on one side of the table, facing the same direction, in every other seat.
    • Lunchroom will be at most  25 percent full at a time.
    • Remaining students will eat at alternate locations as age appropriate and feasible (classrooms, outdoor seating, auditorium)
  • Pre-Kindergarten: Bulloch County Schools received approval from Bright from the Start to allow parents of the school district's Pre-K students the individual choice of either virtual or traditional instruction. Our school district's Pre-Kindergarten Department will contact parents of registered Pre-K students directly to inform them of available instruction models. If you did not receive a call, please contact our Pre-K Department to ensure we have your correct contact information or contact your zoned elementary school.
Dual Enrollment Questions
  • Dual enrollment students do remain as students in the Bulloch County School District, even if they do not physically have classes at any of our high schools for first or second semester, so parents should still make an instruction model choice for their student. 
    • If the dual-enrolled student has no classes at our high schools, select the traditional model. 
    • If the dual-enrolled student has some classes at our high schools, but the parent chooses for the student to take these high schools virtually, then select the virtual option.
  • While on a post-secondary campus, dual-enrolled students will follow the protocols and schedule for that college or university for their dual-enrolled courses.
Gifted/Honors Instruction for Traditional & Virtual Instruction Models
  • Student's whose gifted testing was delayed in Spring 2020, are now being conducted and will be continued until complete.
  • The school district will host its traditional fall and spring testing windows for gifted services.
  • Gifted and honors instruction is available through the virtual program.  The district will use the curriculum resources that were already in use, so students will be familiar with them.  Both the traditional and virtual gifted programs will use Envisions and Noetic Math units for elementary gifted students and the Renzulli Learning System for middle school gifted students.
  • Gifted content courses taught by select Bulloch County Schools' certified gifted faculty will be pre-recorded and embedded into the Edgenuity and SchoolsPLP virtual platforms.
  • If you have specific questions about certain Advanced Placement courses and offerings through Georgia Virtual School, please pose those questions directly to your high school counselor, who is the best expert to advise you on your individual child's academic journey toward graduation.  
Special Education - Student Support Services - Special Needs Testing
  • If your child needs evaluation/testing for special needs services and supports, please contact either the special education coordinator at your child's school or the school district's Special Education Department.
  • Our school district is mandated to provide the support services students need to be successful in school and receive a quality, basic education whether that is in our virtual or traditional instruction model. If you have specific questions about how your child's special education needs will be provided, please contact either the special education coordinator at your child's school or the school district's Special Education Department.
Sports Questions
  • What about summer conditioning and fall sports for middle and high school?
  • We have just moved to Bulloch County this summer. May my child participate in summer conditioning and summer tryouts?
  • Can school sports teams practice and host tryouts for the new school year?
  • What is the newest guidance from the Georgia High School Association?  
  • These guidelines are for the protection of all athletes, coaches, athletic training and other medical personnel, and affiliated support staff in accordance with current Governor’s Office, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Georgia High School Association guidelines and policies. These guidelines will be flexible and subject to change as time, information, and research is updated. It has been established by health care authorities and leaders to have a process for screening and educating athletes, parents, and staff to self-monitor and report pertinent changes as they are encountered. 
    • Process for screening and testing athletes and athletic personnel
      • Every athlete, coach, or staff member will be screened prior to participation in any workout using a Georgia High School Association COVID 19 screening form. All screenings will be documented. 
      • If an athlete or coach presents with symptoms or has a recent direct exposure to COVID 19, the athlete or coach will not be allowed to participate and will seek medical attention.
      • If at any time an athlete, coach or staff has known or suspected COVID-19 symptons, the school will refer to the most recent Georgia Department of Public Heath guidance. 
      • In compliance with federal laws and state and local guidance, positive cases will only be reported to the local Department of Public Health. Any additional reporting and tracing will be the responsibility of the local Department of Public Health.  
      • Screening will be performed by a coach at the beginning of each training session. Forms will be kept on file on campus.  
      • Self-monitoring is to be instituted continuously.
      • All athletes, coaches, and staff are to be educated as to the importance of and signs to be monitored via this process.
      • A Return to Sport Contract will be signed by parents and students before students start conditioning.   
    • Athletic Training Clinic Procedures
      • ​​​​​​​The athletic clinic will be utilized for acute care.
      • At home rehabs will be utilized when possible.
      • There will be only one athletic trainer allowed in the training room if treatment is necessary. The trainer will wear appropriate personal protection equipment. 
      • The athletic training room will be off limits unless for acute care. 
      • The athletic training room will be cleaned before and after use. 
    • Weight Rooms
      • Weight rooms will be disinfected prior to workouts each day and immediately following each workout session. 
      • Any equipment used by an athlete during a workout will be cleaned prior to use by any other athlete.
      • Side spots only in weight training. Safety bars are preferred.
      • Any equipment used during workouts will be cleaned prior to workouts beginning and immediately following each workout.
      • Any equipment used by an athlete during a workout will be cleaned prior to use by any other athlete.
      • School custodians, coaches,  and designees will clean all areas prior to workout sessions, between workouts, and after all workout sessions have completed for the day. This includes but is not limited to the training room, bathroom used during work sessions, weight room, door handles, and handrails.   
    • Athlete Recommendations
      • ​​​​​​​At this time, due to safety concerns, no water will be provided during workouts.  Athletes will bring their own water or sports drink.
      • All athletes are encouraged to change clothes and immediately shower as soon as possible after practices and activities.
      • All clothing worn during workouts should be washed immediately following each workout. 
      • Social distancing will be adhered to when feasible.  
      • The use of masks/face coverings are highly recommended for inside use. 
      • Students will enter through one entrance and exit through a different entrance. 
 Student Clubs & Event Questions for 2020-2021
Visitor Protocols
  • Visitor Protocols:
    • We will follow Bulloch County Schools' established Visitors' Protocols for safety and security with the following additional restrictions due to COVID-19:
      • Parents can not walk children to class during the first two weeks of school.
      • Only students and staff will be allowed to eat meals with the class. 
      • Parent meetings will be encouraged to occur online or via a non face-to-face venue.
      • Other events involving visitors coming into the building will be limited until further notice.
    • Representatives from post-secondary institutions, business & industry partners, and military partners will be able to come into the schools to support student learning experiences.
    • General visitors will not be allowed to come and eat lunch with students.
    • School vendors (i.e.,yearbook, class rings, etc…) whose services cannot be provided virtually will be allowed to enter the schools on a case-by- case basis. 
    • Structured mentor partnerships will be continued following a formal agreement between the district and the mentor(s).
    • The  in-school aspects of the 4H program provided by Bulloch County office of the University Extension Service, and the Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education  and Gang Resistance Education and Training programs provided by the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office will continue to support student learning experiences.
Social & Emotional Questions

How do I deal with my child's emotions,social needs, bullying, or uncaring behaviors during this time?

  • There are resources on our COVID-19 website from reputable, national sources to assist you with social and emotional needs during this time.
  • Diseases do not discriminate, and neither should we. Individuals of Asian descent or heritage are no more likely to contract the coronavirus than anyone else. 
  • If students are feeling concerned or worried, encourage them to talk to a parent, teacher, or another trusted adult.  Remind kids of the things they can control to help decrease the risk- wash hands, cover sneezes and coughs.
  • Be aware of your own behaviors. It's important for parents and teachers to understand the effect their own behaviors and emotions can have on children. If you're visibly upset or react in a way that suggests you're fearful, they'll take their cues from you. Just remember to stick to the facts that we know. Be honest and communicate at a developmentally appropriate level.
  • Ensure you are using credible sources for information like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Georgia Department of Public Health.
  • These are some other simple topics that can help you address the social, emotional, and academic needs of your child at this time. You can determine which ones are most appropriate for your child and in what age appropriate ways you can discuss them with him/her:
    • Children should read or be read to at least 20 minutes per day.  Reading is simple and an effective way to strengthen a child's abilities at any age.
    • Encourage proper hygiene and talk about what good habits you need to practice in public at anytime in public spaces (i.e. grocery store,  houses of worship, sporting events, school, beach, amusement parks, etc.) 
    • Encourage a focus on facts not fear
    • Be patient and take one day at a time. Resist the desire to plan too far in the future and know all answers to future situations now, especially about school.
    • Take note of at least one blessing you have. If you have family, food, shelter, good health, or parents have jobs, be thankful for one or more of those blessings.
    • Children crave a schedule and like to know what they can do when. Make a family schedule, and especially include at least eight hours of sleep.
    • Do something to take care of yourself (i.e., exercise together, encourage a hobby, listen to music, or play an instrument.)
    • Monitor screen time on television, tablets, gaming devices, and cellular phones.
    • Be kind and find ways to focus on encouraging or helping others in our community
    • Resist the need to be perfect or to expect perfection in others.
    • Avoid "share and compare" on social media, especially when it comes to school operations. Not all school districts are alike, nor do they serve the same demographics. Don't assume what one school district is doing is what will or should be done in our community.