Local schools will reopen Aug. 3 with in-classroom instruction if the Cherokee County Board of Education approves the plans of Superintendent Brian Hightower.

On Wednesday the Cherokee County School District revealed Hightower’s recommendations, which call for schools to reopen Aug. 3 with in-person instruction. Parents can opt to enroll their children in digital learning from home instead, and must sign up to do so by next Friday, July 17.

School board members will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday and are expected to vote on the plans then, along with a proposal to have graduation ceremonies later this month at First Baptist Church Woodstock. Social distancing will be enforced at the meeting, meaning seating will be limited to 80 people.

Schools were closed and online instruction was implemented in March in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which is ongoing.

Under the plan released Wednesday all campuses will reopen with traditional in-classroom instruction.

Wearing face coverings to combat spread of the novel coronavirus will be mandatory for faculty and staff when social distancing is not possible, and is recommended but not required for students. The school system would provide two reusable masks for both employees and to students. If the federal or state governments mandate wearing of masks, the school system would abide by that rule, officials said in an online Q&A.

Social distancing will be encouraged, but cannot be guaranteed because of space and other considerations, according to the Q&A. “When possible, we will move desks apart and use other common-sense practices; due to space constraints as well as the nature of teaching and learning, we will not be able to consistently maintain six feet of distance between students or six feet of distance between students and teachers or other staff who work with students,” the Q&A reads.

Students will not have to submit to a temperature check prior to boarding school buses or entering school buildings, according to the Q&A. But parents are urged to take their children’s temperature before sending them to school. Fever is a symptom of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Each classroom will be supplied with sanitizer spray and the school system’s janitorial contractor will maintain extra staffing and sanitize buildings, according to the plan.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Cherokee County had seen 46 deaths linked to COVID-19 and 1,493 coronavirus infections. Statewide there have been nearly 3,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 and over 130,000 nationally.

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