How FCS Coronavirus Closures Impact Classroom Instruction

Taken+from+the+CDC+website%2C+a+graphic+of+the+corona+virus+in+a+microscopic+form.+

Taken from the CDC

Taken from the CDC website, a graphic of the corona virus in a microscopic form.

By Brooke McDermott, Cambridge High School - GA

All Fulton County Schools are officially closed for Tuesday and Wednesday after a Fulton County School System employee tested positive for COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.

Since the confirmation of coronavirus in Georgia was announced by Governor Brian Kemp’s office and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Fulton County Schools has decided that in the case of school closures in FCS, the county will provide virtual instruction.

“In the event of a school closing, we can convert instruction to a digital format to ensure continuation of instruction,” according to the Fulton County Schools website.

Fulton County Schools also advises all students, families and employees for Fulton County Schools to follow guides listed on the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website for expert advice on staying safe and healthy.

Nancy Barker, Math Department chair and educator of statistics for over 20 years, worked for the CDC for five years and taught statistics to epidemiologists.

With her knowledge of statistics and health-related data, Barker recommends anyone who is trying to find information on the virus should always look to the CDC or the WHO (World Health Organization).

“We have to be really careful because a lot of people think that numbers are just black and white,” said Barker.

Barker also stated she noticed how scared people are of the statistics and the issues that have arisen from this virus, saying “we just have to be very smart when looking at the data, so we don’t scare everyone.”

Similarly, Principal Kimberly Premoli believes the primary reason as to why the country is so worrisome of the disease is because it’s relatively new.

“The CDC is here in Atlanta and is very forthcoming with the details and the facts that they can confirm,” said Premoli.

“We should treat it like every other illness,” she said in regards to traditional advice on reducing illness, like washing hands and staying home if you feel sick.

In the event of a school closure, Premoli is confident in the school’s ability to administer lessons and work to students through digital platforms.

“We have the expectation that everyone will use a learning management system,” said Premoli.

Some examples of these platforms would be Google Classroom and “a whole myriad of stuff with Microsoft Office.”

In regards to students who do not have a school-issued device, administration would confirm with students their internet access at home as well as whether they have access to a device they could work on.

“We have to take our time because this is an emerging disease,” said Barker. “We have a lot to learn about it.”

This story was originally published on The Bear Witness on March 10, 2020.