A phased plan to re-open Carroll County schools this fall was proposed Monday at the June work session of the Board of Education.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Carroll County School System was forced to implement distance learning this year to ensure the safety of students and staff. As the pandemic continues, school officials have been faced with the decision of whether to hold in-person classes next school year.

The district plans to start the school year on Aug. 4 and has outlined a phased reopening for students and staff based on guidance from the Governor’s Office, Georgia Department of Education, Public Health officials, and other local agencies. But the plan could change if that official guidance changes.

The goal of the district is to start school on Aug. 4 with traditional face-to-face learning, with the possibility of distance learning as needed for individual students. Face-to-face learning is introduced in the last two phases of the plan.

During “Phase I,” schools are closed and there would be teleworking for most employees, with essential employees expected to report to work as needed.

Schools will open for “Phase II” and there will be distance learning with limited onsite activities for students, with employees expected to report to work in accordance with their work calendar.

“Phase III” starts “blended distance learning” with schools open and traditional face-to-face learning with some distance learning. There will also be “full employee expectations.”

The final stage,”Phase IV” has traditional face-to-face learning with distance learning accommodations for individual students and full employee expectations.

School officials have also created a timeline for the school reopening and feedback gathering. Officials between now and the start of the school year will meet regularly with health officials as well as gather comments from parents and staff on the proposed plan.

Phase III and IV will have “common-sense approaches” for what could be expected from staff and students for a return to onsite instruction.

These could include periodic screening, including random temperature checks; serving meals in classrooms, stagger or otherwise modify lunch periods; stagger playground and class-change schedules; shutting off water fountains; and general sanitation and disinfection.