School Systems – Tesoro High School Mon, 10 Jan 2022 11:48:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 School Systems – Tesoro High School 32 32 Georgia relaxes some COVID guidelines for school districts Mon, 10 Jan 2022 11:11:57 +0000

The state’s Department of Public Health has relaxed some guidelines for Georgia school districts in their efforts to tackle COVID-19 in the classroom.

A letter sent Thursday by Governor Brian Kemp and DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey says educators and school staff who are exposed to COVID-19 can return to work, regardless of their immunization status or when they were exposed “if their employer deems it necessary to ensure adequate staff.

  • Teachers and other school employees returning to work will be required to remain asymptomatic, wear a mask, and comply with other quarantine requirements.

Why is this important: Absences of teachers and staff due to COVID-19 quarantine or isolation guidelines may impact school districts’ ability to keep classrooms open for in-person learning.

What they say : “Students, parents and educators have made it clear to us that they want to be in the classroom, and we are looking for ways to safely continue learning in person,” said Kemp and Toomey.

The letter says that since contact tracing has become a challenge for schools due to the latest wave, districts may now consider making contact tracing an “optional service”.

  • Systems will still need to report positive cases of COVID-19 to the Department of Public Health.

Inventory: School systems in Atlanta, Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties returned to in-person learning today after starting the spring semester with distance learning due to a spike in cases of COVID-19 in their communities.

The plot: Schools in Cobb County, the second largest district in the state, will no longer conduct contact tracing for all suspected or confirmed cases of COVID. Superintendent Chris Ragsdale made the announcement Thursday at a convened meeting of the Board of Education.

  • “It’s a great option for school districts,” he said, noting that contact tracing is the “biggest increase” in staff resources.

Ragsdale said there could be instances where the district is doing contact tracing, but did not provide examples of when it would be.

Cobb School Board President David Chastain told Axios there are some pitfalls in the contact tracing process, including some parents being notified of an exposure after the quarantine period expires.

  • “It was creating a lot of confusion,” he said. “I hope this will minimize the confusion, but it does not negate the health and safety priorities.”

The other side: Board member Charisse Davis told Axios she was not surprised to learn that the district would stop global contact tracing because it “appears to be following more conservative strategies related to COVID.”

Davis said she has already received emails from parents criticizing Cobb’s latest move, which she says is part of the full picture of how the district has approached COVID-19 over the two last years.

  • “This is not a debate between children in school and children who are not in school,” she said. “It’s about making the school the safest place for our children and our staff. “
Georgia school principal awaits return of students to class, teacher increases in 2022 Sat, 08 Jan 2022 18:18:37 +0000

Despite some major Georgia school systems implementing an online semester start this week, the state’s public education system is poised for a successful and mostly in-person semester, State Superintendent Richard Woods said on Friday. .

Georgia State Schools Superintendent Richard Woods Credit: Georgia Ministry of Education

“It goes without saying that the last two years have been shaped by the pandemic, our recovery is underway,” said Woods “That said, I think it’s important to recognize that it is not March 2020, this for which I am very grateful. of that, but we have a lot more tools in our toolbox than when we had when we started almost two years ago now.

Woods said widely available vaccines along with improved planning and infrastructure would help make in-person classes possible.

“Hopefully this will be a very short hiatus for these districts, but again, across the state, most districts are back face to face and we’re happy with that, and that’s what we’re trying. to guarantee, ”he said. .

Woods spoke at the Georgia Partnership for Education’s annual Top Ten Issues to Watch conference, held virtually this year due to the resurgence of the pandemic.

The Partnership, a non-partisan group founded by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, typically hosts the event annually in Atlanta in conjunction with the release of a report outlining the major issues facing public education as the year school resumes after the winter break and lawmakers prepare to meet for a new sitting.

Much of Woods’ wishlist for the upcoming semester comes down to more money for teachers.

“Definitely the completion of the increase in teachers, we’re looking at $ 2,000, that will fill that out,” he said. “That, I think, would be very, very well received statewide. By also making sure that the budget is fully funded, we don’t have to deal with austerity, I think that would be greatly appreciated at all levels.

Gov. Brian Kemp made a $ 5,000 pay hike for teachers, a key commitment in his 2018 campaign, and the legislature approved a $ 3,000 hike the following year. The difference was supposed to be part of the 2020 budget, but the COVID-19 pandemic has derailed those plans. This year, with the public treasury filled with cash and Kemp threatened with re-election, finalizing salary increases and fully funding the state’s contribution to local school budgets appear to be relatively safe bets to be made.

Social problems

Woods is also committed to making school classes more accessible to parents by requiring district officials to report annually on the third-party programs and assessments they use and uploading those reports to a publicly accessible dashboard.

The role of parent involvement in school lessons has sparked controversy in recent months as masses of parents flock to local school board meetings to protest the inclusion of Critical Race Theory, an academic term. formerly specialized which has become a catch-all for courses. which suggest that racism exists or has historically existed in American institutions.

Woods didn’t speak directly to Critical Race Theory, but said educators need to be transparent about what they’re teaching and parents should have a say in the classroom.

“We cannot be seen or act as education elitists and assume that we know better without listening to our parents in our community, we have to have that buy-in and trust on a daily basis,” he said. “And so I think making sure we’re transparent about what’s going on in our school is very careful for each of our districts.”

Woods’ opponent in the June Republican primary, former superintendent John Barge, has pledged to remove critical race theory from classrooms and teach students patriotism instead.

The winner of the GOP primary will face one of two Democratic candidates, Cobb County School Board member Jaha Howard or Gwinnett County Board of Education chairman Everton Blair.

Woods also reiterated his support for an idea raised by pro President Tem Jan Jones late last year, creating legislation to prevent access to obscene material in public schools, although the scope of any legislation intended is not yet clear.

“We’ve had discussions about what obscenity looks like and revising a somewhat dated law,” Woods said. “Certainly, when you look at the electronics business and the things that are out there, how we can better protect our kids and just make sure we’re focusing on what needs to be taught.”

Assessments, responsibility

Students failed to take the Georgia Milestones standardized test in 2020, and participation rates fell last year after the state’s board of education reduced the weight of end-of-course tests to 0 .01% of a student’s final grade, a move Woods defended to lower the pressure of high-stakes testing for students who have missed class hours due to the pandemic.

This year, standardized testing will be back to normal, Woods said, but he vowed to play down the role of testing in determining whether a student passes to the next grade.

“The US Department of Education will be requiring state assessments this spring, so we envision testing as normal this year,” he said. “We will continue to ask local school districts with flexibility contracts to use course grades and other metrics, not just milestone scores, when it comes to promotion and retention decisions. Our teachers, they are on the front line, they know the children, they have worked with them.

A lack of reliable test results has severely hampered the state’s ability to score and compare schools using its performance index formula for colleges and careers, said the President of GPEE, Dana Rickman.

“We haven’t had any sort of liability due to COVID for the past couple of years because, I think, for understandable reasons we’ve put this on hold,” she said. “But there are clear indications and categorical statements from the Georgia Ministry of Education that they are done with CCRPI, they don’t like it. They don’t think he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing. But our concern with the partnership is that there hasn’t been a solid statewide discussion of what it should be replaced with. “

Woods said the state accountability system should be expanded to include more information to help schools grow, but details should wait, he said.

“This is something that we are exploring with improving the school to help us get a better idea of ​​what is going on,” he said. “So we’re looking to address the responsibility, and I think as the pandemic eases we can see a little more what it looks like and hopefully not have the disruptions that we’ve had over the course. the last two years.

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School districts cooperate with MSDE review on the use of seclusion and restraint Thu, 06 Jan 2022 23:35:20 +0000

MARYLAND – The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is taking a close look at all schools and their use of restraint and seclusion, after a recent case of discriminatory use of restraint and segregation in Frederick County public schools.

Officials want to ensure that all local school systems treat students fairly when it comes to discipline. We sat down with a Somerset County School District official and it looks like they’re taking a different approach. “We need to throw all of our tools into the toolbox in a situation or at least try it out before we have to use any of these last resort measures,” says Victoria Miele, public relations specialist at Somerset County Public Schools.

A thorough investigation in a school district in Maryland found that the district often resorted to seclusion and restraint in non-emergency situations; a measure, we are told, is the last resort. “It should be used very rarely, we try to defuse as much as possible before we get to this type of situation,” says Miele.

The State Department says it is taking an in-depth look at all school policies and how they are implemented. In response to the inquiry, Maryland State School Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury said, “Given the potentially devastating physical and emotional impact of coercion and isolation on students and staff , as well as the disproportionate use on students with disabilities and students of color, MSDE will work with our local school systems to eliminate illegal use of these practices and increase the system’s ability to provide effective and positive means of behavior management .

Meanwhile, Miele tells us, they have a plan in place for students who may have severe disabilities. They focus on de-escalation tactics of exclusion, such as a brief voluntary break. Isolation tactics are only used when a student is a danger to themselves or to others, as not only is isolation a last resort, it can even trigger past trauma. “We don’t want to create that kind of association with the student and the school with the past trauma they have.”

Wicomico County Public Schools also commented on the situation saying that physical intervention or restraint is only used as a last resort by our staff trained at the Institute for Crisis Prevention for situations in which a student is a danger to himself or to others. They add : “Our staff are trained on the latest non-violent intervention techniques that allow them to quickly and recognize and respond safely to daily crises.

Miele also says they are eager to work with the State Department and address their policies, for the safety of the students. “We are completely transparent with information and willing to learn new information and to be able to incorporate this new information into our policies and hopefully improve them.”

We are also told that when we need to use coercion or isolation measures, this is documented and reported to the state. However, Miele says it should always be a measure of last resort. She hopes all schools can adapt their policies to ensure the safety of all students, especially those with disabilities.

The MSDE says that if you are concerned about the use of restraint and seclusion, contact local school boards and the MSDE for assistance.

Hutchinson: School districts should decide on masking requirements | Arkansas Tue, 04 Jan 2022 22:18:00 +0000

(The Center Square) – Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said at his press conference that he would ask school districts to “affirmatively research whether a mask requirement is necessary in the school.”

The state is setting COVID-19 records with a 25.5% positivity rate in the past seven days and a record 6,562 cases reported on Monday, the governor said. The increase is attributed to the omicron variant, which is believed to be more contagious than other strains of COVID-19.

“This tells us that we are entering a time of possibly the greatest challenge we have faced during the pandemic,” Hutchinson said.

One of those challenges is figuring out what to do now that the kids are back in school.

Hutchinson signed a bill prohibiting school systems from implementing mask mandates. A Pulaski County judge struck down the law last week, saying it did not distinguish between public and private schools.

The governor said he was in favor of the decision.

“The ruling that Law 1002 is unconstitutional serves as a check against the legislature and helps restore the right balance between branches of government,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “The decision also makes it clear that local school boards have the power to protect the health of students during the pandemic. “

The Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians and the Arkansas Education Association released a joint statement Monday calling on schools “to revert to masking requirements for staff and students to help keep buildings open “.

“Educators are leaving their posts due to the impact of COVID-19 on their students, themselves and their families,” the organizations said in a joint statement. “Districts cannot continue to ignore the rapidly changing learning and working conditions that must be taken into account to maintain safe and healthy classrooms, buildings and school buses. “

Hutchinson also said statistics show a 25% decrease in COVID-19 cases in schools with a mask warrant.

Dr Jose Romero, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, said he was concerned about the state’s only children’s hospital, which has only one satellite campus.

“It is possible that with a large number of cases, we could overwhelm this system,” Romero said.

Hutchinson said the state had invested $ 60 million in expanding intensive care units and “surge” medical space if more beds were needed.

While 87% of Arkansans over 65 are fully vaccinated, 53.1% of the general population is vaccinated. Nearly 87% of people hospitalized are not vaccinated, according to information provided by the governor.

When asked if he would consider a statewide vaccination mandate, Hutchinson, “We are just beyond a state-wide government mandate.”

“My position has been very consistent that we shouldn’t be forcing companies to require vaccines,” Hutchinson said. “At the same time, we shouldn’t ban companies from requiring vaccines. “

More schools in Philadelphia area go virtual for back to school, citing COVID numbers – CBS Philly Sun, 02 Jan 2022 23:15:00 +0000