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DUNLAP — Concord Community Schools officials have decided against offering full-time, in-person instruction in the fall making the district the second in the area to follow this approach.

By a unanimous vote, the school board on Monday night approved a “hybrid” plan that allows students to take two days of in-person instruction in addition to e-learning days or they can choose a virtual-instruction-only option.

Newly appointed Superintendent Dan Funston, who stepped into the role on July 1, said the top three priorities the district officials paid close attention to when creating their reopening blueprint was the well-being of students, staff and the community.

“We know that our students are best served when they’re in the school, especially our young kids,” he said, “when they’re able to see a teacher and we’re able to do those well checks and provide the services that we know goes beyond academics in providing for our students.

“Also want to make sure that we’re paying special attention to the well-being of our staff — this includes classified staff and all of our staff. So we believe that while not perfect, we have laid out a blueprint here that pays special consideration to those things.”

The plan follows a similar approach to Elkhart Community Schools, which approved its re-entry plan last week.

Under the two-days-of-classroom-instruction option, half of the Concord students will take classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, while the other half will go back on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays will be designated e-learning days for all grades, according to the district’s plan.

Following Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 schools, the district is addressing the community spread of the coronavirus at the district in three levels.

The low/no spread is the traditional plan with schools open and following preventive practices.

Minimal/moderate spread could be traditional, full distance/remote learning, or a hybrid of the two, which would have limited or staggered use of buildings and alternating schedules.

Substantial spread would mean going back to distance/remote learning with either targeted closure, short-term closure, or extended closure.

Of the three categories, Concord has opted to align its hybrid plan with the minimal/moderate spread category.

“The heart of this plan is the idea of social distancing,” Funston said. “We believe that by splitting our student body in half that as a school we’ll be much more able to social distance than if every student showed up on day one.”

Each student and staff member will receive two cloth masks at no cost. Per mandate of the Elkhart County Health Department, upon entering the building, students will wear a mask except when seated at their desks (only if they can properly social distance) or eating. Students will be required to wear a mask while at school except when they are seated in their classroom and able to social distance, the plan states.

“We will continue to work with local and state health officials, as well as neighboring school districts to evaluate the conditions in Elkhart County and will make adjustments to the plan as needed,” Funston said. “These plans are subject to change.”

Concord Community Schools plans on reopening on Aug. 12.

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