AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – The Richmond County School System says about 60 percent of students chose in-person learning this semester, up from 40 percent last semester.

But because of COVID-19 numbers in the county, the district is having everyone start the semester virtually.

“Richmond County has really done a good job for the most part. All they can do to help keep the kids safe,” parent Charmetra Johnson said.

Johnson has three kids at Butler High School. They chose in-person learning this year, but have to spend the first two weeks learning online. While Johnson is happy the district is following safety protocols, it puts a little more pressure on her as a working mother.

“Tap into them. We FaceTime while I’m at work. I’m communicating with them,” she said. “I have them getting up the same time that they would get up to go to school. They’re doing their work, and I tell them, ‘Y’all can have your little recess, recreation time, and then it’s back to action.’”

The district had plans to bring nearly 17,500 kids back into the classroom but had to make a change after talking to health officials.

“Numbers in coronavirus cases in our communities were very high,” district spokeswoman Lynthia Ross said. “We’re hopeful this is going to be a short term learn at home transition.”

The plan is to get elementary students back in the classroom on Monday, Jan. 25, and then bring back middle and high school students the day after.

In the meantime, the district is making some changes to help with the transition: things like opening schools earlier this week for orientation and registration, meal delivery, and increasing the hours for the WiFi on Wheels program.

Johnson says it was a smooth transition, but she and her kids are looking forward to getting back to in-person learning.

“This new education stuff they got going on is totally different from when I was in school, so I have to really, really rack my brain, and they have to teach me some of the stuff they’re doing,” Johnson said.

Copyright 2021 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

Source Article