Ragsdale to preview virtual learning options for next year

Shannon Ballew, Marietta Daily Journal, Ga.
·2 min read

Mar. 16—Families will soon get more details about what online learning could look like next year in Cobb County School District.

Superintendent Chris Ragsdale is scheduled to have staff give a presentation on options for virtual learning for the 2021-22 school year when the school board meets Thursday.

John Floresta, chief strategy and accountability officer for the district, declined to say what those options will be until the board has heard them.

Ragsdale has previously said the district is planning for teachers to no longer teach in-person and virtual classes concurrently, something some teachers have asked for during the pandemic.

The superintendent said last week that the district can't meet that demand 100%, but will do everything possible to limit the practice. Advanced Placement chemistry teachers, for example, are a high-demand, low-supply teacher who may teach some classes virtually and some in-person.

Also at Thursday's meeting, school board members will hear a presentation from 3Oe Scientific on aqueous ozone hand-washing devices that have been installed in the district's elementary schools.

"(The) superintendent referenced back in the proof-of-concept back in the fall that we'd be bringing them at some point, and here we are," Floresta said.

After a pilot program at three schools in the fall, school board members approved $12 million for the hand-washing stations and ultraviolet lights from ProTek Life in a 4-2 vote. Charisse Davis and Jaha Howard opposed both, arguing there was not enough evidence supporting the technology's effectiveness. Since then, the district has pulled the UV lights after one malfunctioned at Argyle Elementary School in February.

District staff will also give a presentation on literacy, including reading programs and students' progress over the last several years, Floresta said.

The Cobb school board meets at 1 p.m. Thursday for a work session, followed by their regular meeting at 7 p.m. at the district's main office, 514 Glover St. in Marietta. Meetings are streamed on the district's website, www.cobbk12.org.