Earlier this week the Pollard PTA Board had an opportunity to meet with Mr. Perlberg and Dr. Giles regarding the Chatham County Board of Education’s decision to transition students to Plan B on Dec. 7. We understand that some of you are eager to get your kids back to school and that others would prefer students to remain remote-only. Regardless of which plan works best for your family, there will be changes, and we are concerned about the disruption these changes may cause our children, especially during the middle of a grading period.
It is important to note that these preparations have been in the works for months, as it has always been a matter of when (not if) the schools would transition to Plan B. As Mr. Perlberg and Dr. Giles unveiled their plans, we were impressed with the detailed preparation and safety protocols the administration has put into place and are grateful to Mr. Perlberg and Dr. Giles for their leadership, foresight and planning. We are sharing the information below because we think it might be helpful for other parents to understand the massive amount of work taking place behind the scenes to ensure a smooth and successful transition for our students. We also want to share some of our key take-aways from the meeting, in hope that you will find the information helpful when making your own Plan B decision.
The logistics involved are staggering. To add context, Pollard has more than 760 students. Once the Nov. 23 deadline for declaring Hybrid vs. Virtual Academy passes, Mr. Perlberg and Dr. Giles must review - and revise - each student’s schedule. Keep in mind that 75% of Pollard students have a sibling - either at Pollard or attending another Chatham County school - whose schedules must also be considered when planning for in-person attendance.
Additionally, the administrators must reassign teachers to cover the Hybrid and Virtual Academy classes. And, when students return to school, all of Pollard’s teachers, regardless of whether they are teaching students in-person or virtually, will need to physically be in the building to help keep students safe and ensure they are abiding by necessary health and safety requirements. While teachers are preparing for in-person instruction and how best to support their students, they must also consider their own health and safety. Some teachers may opt out of returning, making the already difficult task of confirming that all teachers are appropriately licensed in their subject areas even more challenging. As you can imagine, this process is extremely complicated.
None of the above mentions the obvious responsibilities that Mr. Perlberg and Dr. Giles will need to focus on as they create new schedules for both Hybrid and Virtual Academy students: identifying, communicating, and implementing new safety procedures (following best practice protocols), preparing classrooms for socially-distanced learning, developing protocols for student/teacher screenings and cleanings. The volume and scope of work is immense.
Mr. Perlberg, Dr. Giles, and all of Pollard’s teachers have our complete support - and we hope they can count on yours, too. We have great confidence in the administration’s ability to transition the entire Pollard community to the new at-home/in-person and virtual formats. Their care for our students, teachers, staff and community is clear. If we can be of assistance to you or your students as we ease into Plan B, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our board.
The Margaret Pollard Parent Teacher Association Board
Jen Bowman, President
Emily Patterson, Vice President
Julie Smith, Treasurer
Rosalind Jerkovic, Secretary