Murray students must decide on virtual or in-person learning for next semester by Dec. 4

Ryan Anderson/Daily Citizen-News

Kindergarten students at Woodlawn Elementary School raise their hands to answer a question from teacher Michelle Coffelt during a class in September. While a majority of Murray County Schools' students were in class to start the year, nearly 1,200 of the system's 6,900 students opted for total virtual learning for the first semester. Murray County Schools is asking students to notify the system by Dec. 4 regarding their plan for the second semester, whether they will be virtual students or attend classes in person.

CHATSWORTH — Murray County Schools is asking students to notify the system by Dec. 4 regarding their plan for the second semester, whether they will be virtual students or attend classes in person.

The first semester concludes Jan. 22, and the second semester starts Jan. 25, said Spencer Gazaway, director of secondary education. Each school and the system need to make scheduling plans, and the goal is for staff to know who will be virtual and who will be face to face for the second semester by Dec. 4.

As is the case for the first semester, students who choose virtual education must stick with that option for the entire semester, Gazaway said. They're also ineligible for extracurricular activities.

It's also possible some students who currently attend conventional classes may opt to go virtual for the second semester, and that is their prerogative, said Kelly Rogers, director of elementary and early learning. They, too, must notify the system of their decision by Dec. 4.

The system is holding informational sessions for students and their families regarding virtual learning, Rogers said. It's critical family members understand their responsibilities with virtual learning, too, as they need to help their children be successful.

Murray County Schools has nearly 6,900 enrolled students, and almost 1,200 opted for virtual learning at the start of this school year.

Families who may be battling limited internet access can look to T-Mobile, as the company is offering to provide Wi-Fi to students who are free/reduced-lunch, said Israel House, director of technology for Murray County Schools. "We hope to be able to give this out to students" in need soon.

The system has made other moves to enhance internet access, as well, such as adding Wi-Fi Rangers to school buses, said Superintendent Steve Loughridge.

"We know internet in the county can be spotty," he said.

During a Board of Education work session earlier this month, Loughridge noted that the system has spent 23.6% of the budget a quarter into this school year.

The system plans to donate "a couple of desks we can't use" to the Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center's Chatsworth location, Loughridge said. Desks were originally donated to Murray County Schools by Mohawk Industries, and "we've used some, but there are a couple we don't" need.

The Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center provides shelter and support to female, male and child victims of domestic violence, as well as advocacy for victims, in Whitfield, Murray and Gordon counties, according to Katora Printup, the center's executive director. The center can be reached at its 24-hour crisis hotline, (706) 278-5586.

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