JONESBORO — If school buildings open in the fall, districts will have help from the Georgia Department of Education and Department of Public Health to do so safely.

On Monday, the departments released Georgia’s K-12 Recovery Plan offering several guidelines “intended to ensure the safety of students, staff and families” while remaining flexible, responsive and achievable in the K-12 setting, GaDOE officials said.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods said the guidelines were developed with Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey and her team at the GPH for a “safe reopening.”

Clayton County school officials said as they continue to create a reopening framework and plan, district leaders will utilize the document and consultation with the local public health department to generate solutions that are appropriate for all employees, students, their families and stakeholders.

The plan addresses practicing prevention, transporting students, entering school buildings, serving meals and transitioning between classes and spaces within the school. It also covers the support of teaching and learning, conducting large group gatherings and protecting vulnerable populations in areas of substantial, minimal to moderate, and low to no spread of COVID-19.

“We all want to open schools, but our primary goals is to provide the safest possible environments for students, teachers and staff,” Toomey said. “DPH and DOE share a long history of partnership and collaboration and have worked together to develop these guidelines for healthy learning opportunities as we navigate this COVID-19 pandemic.”

DOE officials said the state’s K-12 Restart Working Groups will meet throughout the summer and fall to “build out resources for school district planning and implementation.”

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