Students returning to a new normal

One and a half years after COVID-19 made its debut at least three of Fulton County’s school districts have made what has become surprisingly normal but still cautious openings.

All seven school districts have jointly adopted The Fulton County Schools’ Common Opening Agreement (FCSCOA). It calls for a strong advisory for students to wear masks, social distancing, and regular sanitation of school areas, among other regulations. While the rules are not much different than those imposed by county school districts last year, they’ve become almost a new kind of normal.

And more students and parents seem to be accepting of what must be done for protection.

Pike-Delta-York local schools are serving approximately 1,300 students for the 2021-22 school year, according to Superintendent Ted Haselman. Three of those are currently being quarantined for COVID.

Only eight students are enrolled in the district’s Panther Virtual Academy, as compared to about 130 students during the height of the pandemic last school year.

Eric Smola, Evergreen Local Schools superintendent, said more than 1,100 students are enrolled for the 2021-22 school year which began Aug. 18. Only 8% of students are receiving virtual instruction.

Smola said the health and safety of students and staff “are always the number one priority of Evergreen Local Schools. The Fulton County Schools’ Common Opening Agreement was created in conjunction with the Fulton County Health Department, and if the need arises, we will make adjustments and alert our families in a timely manner.”

At Wauseon schools, a few students are wearing masks in each building, according to Superintendent Troy Armstrong. No parents have complained about masking, but Armstrong did receive a suggestion from a community member.

Conversely, the superintendent has received plenty of compliments on the FCSCOA allowing parents to decide for themselves whether their children will wear masks. And Armstrong said the approximately 30 students currently attending the district’s virtual school compares to pre-pandemic numbers.

Read the full story in the Fulton County Expositor