After the first three weeks of school were strictly virtual learning at home, Butts County School Superintendent Dr. Todd Simpson said the first day of in-person learning on Tuesday, Sept. 8, was exhilarating for everyone.

“It was an exciting day today, in that you think about for the first time in six months, children were on our campuses and in classrooms,” Simpson told the Board of Education at their Sept.8 meeting. “I can’t say enough about these principals and how proud I am of them and how appreciative I am for everything that they do. Most of them were in their office well before daylight this morning, excited and nervous about welcoming their students back.

“We had a great day. Certainly, there are kinks that we have to work out, just like any first day of school. But it was an exciting day, and I’d like to extend my appreciation to these principals and their staff for what they’ve done.”

With 30% of students opting to remain in virtual learning at home, Simpson told the BOE that it may take several days until they know just how many students returned to learning on Sept. 8.

“Ordinarily at this time we’d look at enrollment in the district, and I think it would be a little bit of an understatement to say that getting a firm enrollment count right now is tricky because of the virtual learning,” Simpson said. “Ordinarily what we would do is over the first 10 days we’ll have a snapshot of those students who are actually present in the classrooms. We’re trying to do the same thing with virtual learning, but what you have to understand is sometimes the attendance can be a couple of days lagging.

“A student is credited for attendance for either logging in or completing assignments or participating in a live session. But if a student goes home and the parents get home in the evening and the student participates in the evening, that teacher wouldn’t know to count them present until the next day. So some of our virtual numbers are going to be lagging and it is going to take us probably four or five days to really get a much better handle on what exactly our numbers are right now.”

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