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Johnson County Schools push back start date to Aug 7

By Jill Penley
Freelance Writer

To ensure teachers are better prepared for the virtual teaching, Johnson County Schools has announced they will push back the semester start date by a few days with the first half day being on Friday, Aug 7, and the first full day the following Monday.

”This is to ensure our teachers are properly trained in the virtual curriculum that our students will be utilizing,” said Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Director of Schools. “Our goal is to be able to provide our students, both in-person and virtually, the tools needed to access the online curriculum. During the first few days of schools, teachers will be asked to provide their in-person students with the information needed to do the online programs should we have to transition to full virtual for students.”

School officials across the state are faced with the difficult situation of preparing for several eventualities as the time draws near for schools to resume, and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to infect residents. “During the first few days of schools, teachers will be asked to provide their in-person students with the information needed to do the online programs should we have to transition to full virtual for students,” said Simcox, who advises teacher workdays will now be Aug 4 and Aug 5. There will also be specialized training for Monday, Aug 3, with an online curriculum for teachers. “We will continue to work hard to provide our students the best education possible,” said Simcox.

“I hope that we will be able to have school this year in person because I truly believe that is best for our students.” It was also the desire of the majority of Johnson County families who responded to a survey distributed several weeks ago asking for input.

The entire situation remains fluid, and local school administrators continue to monitor state guidelines. “The safety of our students and staff will impact every decision we make, said Simcox, “but it is impossible to ensure absolute guarantees.” She acknowledges there will be some health risks to reopen schools.

According to Simcox, it is uncharted territory for school systems across the country; however, standing still and not having school is not an option. “It is important to note that this is a working plan, and we will make modifications as we receive updates from our Governor, the State Department of Education, CDC, and our Regional Health Department,” she said. “I know that parents will do what is best for their children, and I know that everyone will work together to support one another through this difficult time.”

As long as current guidance allows, Johnson County Schools will be back in session Aug 7 with additional safety protocols in place to protect the health and safety of students and staff. Future health conditions may require additional plan modifications. “Although we will face a number of challenges this year, we are committed to making this the best school year possible,” said Simcox. “We understand things must be different, but we will work hard to make it as normal as possible for our students.”