Channel 2 speaks with state superintendent on Georgia’s approach to schools and COVID-19

ATLANTA — With the new school year around the corner, Channel 2 Action News spoke with the state superintendent of schools about what’s happening to make sure students stay safe and on track this year.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston spoke with Dr. Richard Woods to get an idea of how the state plans to move forward while still dealing with COVID-19.

Huddleston: How concerned are we about the variants that are out here?

Woods: “I trust our superintendents. We’ve done a good job this year. We worked real close with the governor’s office and the health department. So we take it day-by-day. And I think that’s the best way to handle it and now we anticipate we will start school back to normal.

“But who knows what tomorrow will bring and I think for us, flexibility is the key word of the day. If we have to make adjustments, we will. But if not, then we’ll continue to move forward as we should.

Huddleston: What are we doing sir to make sure students stay on track to graduate on time, whether it’s middle school, elementary or high school?

Woods: “I traveled throughout the state last year and I probably hit close to 70 schools during the year. I did find out the schools were monitoring their kids. They knew exactly where they were. They have a lot of internal testing they do.

We at the state offer something called the beacon and that is an assessment that’s available to any school, any district within the state, especially for grades three through eight. It that allows us to really measure students progress in math and English language arts based on our standards.”

Huddleston: How do you reassure parents that are out that that we are ready for the upcoming school year?

Woods: “We will never sacrifice keeping our kids safe and our staff members safe as well. We’re ready for this year. I think, looking back at last year, out of the 181 school districts, 145 actually were face-to-face five days a week. So we had a lot of good educational opportunities throughout the state, so we’re ready.”

“I think when I talk with whether it’s the kids, parents or teachers, everyone says let’s get this year going and we’re going to have a great year.