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Superintendent discusses COVID-19 plans for new school year
Mask
Masks will be optional at the start of the 2021-22 school year. - photo by File

 SPRINGFIELD — Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford is confident that lessons learned from the past 12 months will help the Effingham County School District as it prepares to embark on a second year under a COVID-19 cloud.

“Certainly, we cannot talk about upcoming 2021-22 back-to-school updates regarding COVID and the CDC without really making sure that we thank everybody that made last year such a success,” Ford said during Thursday’s Effingham County Board of Education meeting.

Ford applauded the efforts of administrators, teachers, staff, students and the board to keep schools safe from the virus.

About 3,000 of the district’s 13,000 students opted to start the 2020-21 school year by learning virtually. Two thousand of those eventually returned to the classroom.

“We had some students that were at fragile points that had to exit and be placed on Homebound or who had to do online work but we were able to finish the school year successfully,” Ford said. 

The district didn’t cancel a single day of school because of the virus.

Ford said masks will be optional when the 2021-22 school year starts Aug. 5.

“Of course, at this point we are in July and nobody knows what tomorrow brings, ...” Ford cautioned.

Ford said disinfectant will continue to be sprayed regularly in buses, classrooms, lockerrooms, etc. The non-toxic product is supplied by EcoVasive.

“I really think, not only is that product going to continue to help with COVID, it will help with the general cold, virus and flu seasons that we’ve always been accustomed to,” Ford said.

Ford said desks, when possible and practicable, will be set three feet apart.

“We want make school as normal as possible as we can,” the superintendent said.