101420_MNS_Alpha_ES_play_002 Mike Looney

Fulton County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney speaks.

Fulton County’s first day back to school is Aug. 9, and the school district is getting ready by releasing a Top 10 list of major changes.

The list, which includes information about COVID-19 precautions, attendance policies and new programs, is available at www.fultonschools.org/backtoschool.

The topic on most parents’ minds is, of course, the school system’s policies regarding the coronavirus. The Fulton County School System is returning with face-to-face instruction as the default option for all students on Aug. 9.

COVID-19 health guidelines will continue to be followed, with face coverings recommended for students and staff—but not mandated—in schools and administrative buildings. Because the federal government is requiring masks to be worn on all public transportation, students will be mandated to wear them on school buses.

The school system will continue to promote health and hygiene practices and social distancing. Parents are requested to submit positive COVID-19 test results for their students through the online Parent Portal found on the school district’s website.

Fulton County Schools is also working to address learning disruptions caused by the pandemic with its Bridge plan. The district received more than $168 million of federal funding in the American Rescue Plan to help schools recover from COVID-19. Combined with the CARES I, CARES II and smaller related CARES grants, the school system will implement a multi-year program to deal with the impact of the pandemic on lost instruction and learning.

One aspect of this program is a literacy initiative, which addresses and transforms the district’s approach to literacy instruction. As part of the initiative, the district will add K-2 literacy coaches in each elementary school.

The school system has made changes to how it issues attendance notifications. Parents/guardians will be notified more often on absences, whether the absence is excused or not. Families will be notified of student absences with daily robocalls. Students who accumulate multiple absences will receive letters to notify them of missed learning time, and staff will follow up with supportive interventions.

Late start days will also be implemented. On these days, classes start one hour later than usual for students so that faculty and staff can meet and work together to improve teaching skills and academic performance. Buses will continue to operate on the regular schedule during late start days, but parents can choose to transport children to school by the scheduled later start time.

Students who arrive early will participate in supervised activities until the school day begins.

The following schools have new principals this year:

♦ Manning Oaks Elementary School — Nikkole Flowers

♦ Wilson Creek Elementary School — Stephanie Haga

♦ Stonewall Tell Elementary School — Nikki Porter

♦ Woodland Elementary School — Shavanda Toomer

♦ Ison Springs Elementary School — Lakasha Lee

♦ Langston Hughes High School — Octavius Harris

♦ E. C. West Elementary School — Jill Meeker

♦ Alpharetta Elementary School — Cathy Crawford

♦ Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence — Marcus Vu

♦ Spalding Drive Elementary School — Jennifer Rosenthal

♦ Liberty Point Elementary School — Kathleen Stamper

♦ Campbell Elementary School — Arthur Davis

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