Bibb Schools special education students start phase-in return process

The district plans to phase in students with significant needs whose parents did not choose the remote learning option back to in-person instruction

MACON, Ga. — Vanessa Mills says she’s too concerned about Bibb County’s COVID-19 risk to send him back to in-person instruction.

I’m not the only parent with this concern. There seems to be several parents who did not enroll their children in online learning and now want to enroll their children in online learning,” she said.

She says her son Dorian takes medication for ADHD and Autism.

“We want them to be around their teachers. We want them to have that social interaction, but not at the risk of I may have to bury them at the end of the month,” Mills said.

Bibb Schools Special Education Director Jennifer Donnelly says they identified about 200 students with significant needs who would benefit the most from face-to-face instruction.

“The ones with the most significant issues in learning. So, in general it takes them a longer time to process information and to put that information into action so to speak, so they require repeated opportunities for learning and practice,” Donnelly said.

The district’s now working to accommodate parents who want to change their decisions they made back in July to either have their student return in-person or continue remote learning

“We’ve told the parents who are looking to swap in either direction that you have to give us a chance to look at the staff, to look at how many kids want to go from virtual, to face-to-face and how many want to go from face-to-face to virtual, because we can’t overload the classes because that’s not going to be good for anybody,” Donnelly said.

So, for the families looking to switch, Donnelly says it comes down to availability.

“We’re taking our time to really investigate the opportunities for our families. It’s not a, ‘No.’ It’s a, ‘Give us a moment we’ve got to look and we’ve got to be fair and reasonable in our attempts to make that work’,” Donnelly said.

Students with significant needs will begin the part-time, in-person schedule starting Monday.

Donnelly says they’ll be able to give parents answers on availability towards the end of next week after they’ve assessed what their staff can handle.

The district expects this group of students will return to in-person instruction full time by Oct. 19.

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