Back 2 School: Wednesday will be the busiest day of the week when 15 districts return

ATLANTA — Wednesday will be the busiest day of the back to school rush in north Georgia.

There are a total of 15 school districts in the Channel 2 viewing area that will return to class: Banks, Bartow, Bremen, Buford, Butts, Clarke, Clayton, Douglas, Griffin-Spalding, Gwinnett, Heard, Henry, Marietta City, Putnam and Oconee schools.

Join Fred Blankenship, Lori Wilson, Brian Monahan and Mike Shields for all your Back 2 School needs! Watch Channel 2 Action News This Morning from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Banks County

Banks County announced some changes for the school year. A new portal system for students and parents called Infinite Campus will be used. The system will provide families with grades, assignments, attendance and announcements.

Banks County Schools also announced more SRO officers will be stationed at every school with the focus on safety. A final change includes a new bell schedule for Banks High School.

Bartow County

In Bartow County, students in all grades are eligible for free school supplies. The district approved using federal relief funds to cover items like Lysol wipes, loose-leaf paper, crayons, pencils, notebooks and binders.

Bartow County Schools are also launching a 10-month mental health campaign “Everybody has a Story and Somebody Cares”. The district also created a 25-member Student Mental Health subcommittee made up of principals, parents, counselors and community leaders.

Clayton County

The biggest change in Clayton County will be the district’s new backpack policy. School officials approved a clear backpack policy for the 2022-23 school year.

“We will provide clear bookbags to all of our students to help them carry their books. Hopefully this will provide schools an easier way to access whether or not students have inappropriate items in their bookbags,” Clayton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Morcease Beasley said.

Beasley said clear backpacks are to keep students and staff safe, but they also have safety plans at every school.

Douglas County

Superintendent Trent North says safety and security throughout the district is a big focus as students and teachers go back to the classroom.

“We have a crisis alert system where any teacher can lock down our building,” North said. “And when they lock it down, if they press this button five times, it will notify me, our police department, sheriff department and it will notify whether it was in the city or the county and it tells us exactly which room it’s in.”

The district also bought eight mobile security units.

“The mobile cops will allow us to surveying our perimeter the entire time we have school on our campus,” North said.

Griffin-Spalding

A clear backpack policy will also go into effect in Griffin-Spalding County Schools this year. The policy will apply to all middle and high school students.

“This clear bookbag policy is a proactive measure to serve as a deterrent to discourage students from bringing inappropriate items into our school. This is not in response to a particular incident but is an effort to keep our school environment safe.”

A full list of conditions for the clear backpack policy can be found here.

The district says they will once again provide Chromebook computers to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The district will require a $10 technology insurance fee, which can be paid online or at the school. Students have until August 12 to pay the fee.

BACK 2 SCHOOL

Gwinnett County

The state’s largest school district will begin welcoming students with a staggered plan.

On Wednesday, students in kindergarten, first grade, sixth grade and ninth grade will start in-person learning. Other students will complete digital learning at home.

If you are traveling through a school zone today, remember to watch your speed. Drivers will notice new speed cameras in school zones. Speeding has been an issue especially near Gwinnett Central High School.

Lt. Jake Parker with Lawrenceville police says they have responded to two kids hit by speeding drivers over the past five years.

Henry County

After a few years of COVID-19 interruptions, Henry County Schools are getting ready for a fresh start. Channel 2′s Linda Stouffer sat down with the school superintendent about what families can expect this year.

“First and foremost we believe in our students and as a community is lifting up how much we believe in education,” Superintendent Dr. Mary Elizabeth Davis said. “That every student walks into their first day knowing that they belong.”

[RELATED: New school start times for Henry County Schools announced]

Davis told Stouffer that teachers have new data showing most students have re-bounded to pre-pandemic levels but many fifth and sixth grades will still need more support.

On safety, the district is adding security staff for all middle and high schools and re-checking that exterior and interior doors stay locked.

“We are installing Buzzer system on every one of our school campuses and that will be completed this fall,” Davis said.

Marietta City

Marietta Superintendent Grant Rivera told Channel 2′s Fred Blankenship that their overall goal is also a return to a sense of normalcy.

“I want to welcome them back and let them be students again,” Rivera said.

“Operational protocols in the building, working with Marietta Police Department, really being proactive around making sure that our schools are as safe as possible so we can focus on the love and learning that should be the priority,” Rivera said.

There’s also a focus on school safety, especially in light of the deadly school attack in Uvalde, Texas. Rivera said there will be subtle changes, like signs reminding teachers not to prop open doors and school resource officers, who will continue to serve as protectors and mentors.

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