Henry County ‘bridge’ teaching staff to fill COVID-19 gaps

Henry County Schools will use “bridge” teachers to keep students with COVID-19 or quarantined because of the disease up-to-speed on classwork.

The south metro Atlanta school system said the program, which began Monday, assigns teachers to students working remotely because of the coronavirus to free classroom educators from trying to teach in-school and online simultaneously. It comes as school districts throughout metro Atlanta are struggling with surging COVID-19 cases because of the highly infectious delta variant.

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“In order to ensure that students have access to uninterrupted learning during a quarantine period, Bridge teachers will provide instruction and/or support while a child is quarantined,” said Melissa Morse, Henry Schools chief learning and performance officer. “Students being able to maintain learning is critical to their development, course success, and for our high school students, graduation and beyond.”

The district on Monday reported 245 COVID-19 cases on campus and 822 people have been quarantined. Of those, 202 cases are students, 43 are staff.

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The “bridge” teachers will be assigned to all grades, but will vary on live and recorded instruction. Kindergarten through eighth-grade students will receive live instruction as well as video-recorded lessons to allow them to review missed lessons if they are sick. High school students will get live virtual teacher support to ask questions and stay on pace with the work.

“We want to make sure our students are learning at the highest levels, and we want to know there is a caring adult ready to step in to help keep the learning going for our students and their families,” Henry Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis said. “Connection, stability, and routines are all items that, when achieved, can help students to flourish in their learning.”