Gwinnett County Public Schools will kick off the 2021-22 school year on the first day of school on August 4 with a staggered start for in-person learning. This year, most of Gwinnett’s nearly 180,000 students will be attending school in-person; however, families of approximately 3,400 students selected for their children to remain digital this year. There are a number of new things this school year… new students, new teachers, new principals, a new superintendent, new classes, new items on the menu, and much more! We look forward to the new year and welcoming students and teachers back to learning and back to fun, and most of all being back together in our schools!
- If you are new to Gwinnett County and need to register your child for school or your child is changing schools due to a move, summer is the best time to get ready, get set, and get registered! We know that students miss out on learning opportunities when families wait until the first day to register their child for school. In an effort to ensure new students are present and engaged in learning from the first day of school, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) is encouraging families to visit their child’s new school on designated days in July for summer registration.
Registration is an easy two-part process:
- Start the registration process online (https://bit.ly/GCPS21onlineregis). Families can upload documents needed for registration. Most document attachments (PDF, JPG, DOC, PNG, etc.) are compatible. The file-size limit is 2 MB. (Families without internet access can bring documents to the school on designated days.)
- Visit your child’s new school to complete the process. All GCPS locations will be open for registration from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in July—July 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, and 22. Call your local school (http://bit.ly/SchoolPhoneListGCPS) about additional registration dates and hours.
- In regard to instructional preference selected by families for the 2021-22 school year... should a family wish to make a change from their original selection of in-person to digital, that change must be communicated to the school by Monday, August 2.
Open House/Meet Your Teacher
Schools will schedule Open House/Meet Your Teacher events and communicate plans to families. Please check with your school for specific plans as many are spreading out this event over a number of days or hours to limit the number of people in the building at one time.
First Day of School
All students start school on Aug. 4, with a staggered start for in-person learning. Students in grades K, 1, 6, and 9, and students with special needs who are served in a small group will start in-person learning on Aug. 4, with all other students participating in digital learning at home. On Aug. 5, students in grades 2, 3, 7, and 10 will start in-person learning, with remaining students in digital learning at home. On Aug. 9, students in grades 4, 5, 8, 11, and 12 will start in-person learning. (Students who opted out of in-person learning will begin digital learning on Aug. 4.)
The 2021-22 calendar includes the following staggered start for in-person learning. Note that student who are not scheduled to begin in-person learning will start the year on. Aug. 4 as digital learners until their grade level is scheduled to start classes at school.
- Aug. 4 – Grades K, 1, 6, 9, and students receiving Special Education services in a small-group setting begin in-person classes
- Aug. 5 – Grades 2, 3, 7, and 10 begin in-person classes
- Aug. 9 – Grades 4, 5, 8, 11, and 12 begin in-person classes
Health and Safety
By deploying multiple mitigation strategies at one time, a practice called layered mitigation, GCPS continues to promote health and safety for our students, staff, and visitors.
Gwinnett County Public Schools updated its mask guidance for GCPS facilities in June. That same guidance is in effect today:
Masks are strongly recommended on all campuses and in all Gwinnett County Public Schools’ facilities. Because individuals—both staff and students—may choose to wear masks for various reasons, schools will continue to plan for appropriate mask breaks.
A number of layered mitigation strategies are planned for 2021-22 in GCPS, including:
- Strongly recommending masks, with regular reminders about proper mask use (covering nose and mouth, fitted at sides, etc.)
- Promoting vaccination for those who are eligible
- Physical distancing when feasible
- Continuing use of enhanced ventilation practices, including the installation and use of upgraded MERV 13 filters
- Encouraging regular handwashing and the use of sanitizer
- Promoting proper respiratory etiquette (covering coughs and sneezes, disposing of tissues, etc.)
- Emphasizing the need for individuals to stay home if they are sick, have been exposed to a known case, or are being tested for COVID
- Continuing the Health Response Teams (HRT) process that was used this past year to identify close contacts and report positive cases
- Following health department guidance regarding isolation and quarantine
- Continuing with cleaning and disinfection practices in schools and on buses, focusing on high-touch areas
GCPS will continue to review guidance from local and state health partners, the CDC, and the Georgia Department of Education, using this guidance to inform decision-making about additional or updated mitigation strategies that might be needed for the 2021–22 school year.
Vaccination Information—Individuals ages 12 and older are eligible to receive COVID vaccinations. In addition, families should be aware of two other childhood vaccinations—MCV4 (required for 7th and 11th graders) and Tdap (required for rising 7th graders). Please contact the Health Department or your health provider for information about vaccinations.
Digital Learning for Grades K-5
Of the nearly 180,000 students who attend Gwinnett County Public Schools, approximately 2% have opted out of in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. Here are some quick facts about K-5 digital learning:
- Elementary students will be assigned to a teacher from their school, within their cluster, or another school in the district.
- Students will remain enrolled at their home school so that they can take part in clubs, activities, social events, etc.
- Classes will be delivered largely in a synchronous setting (similar to 2020-21). Synchronous classes require that the student be logged in to participate during a specific time.
- The digital learning schedule may be different from the in-person schedule.
Digital Learning for Grades 6-12
Of the nearly 180,000 students enrolled in Gwinnett County Public Schools, approximately 2% have opted out of in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. Here are some quick facts about digital learning for students in grades 6-12:
- Grade 6-12 students will be enrolled concurrently at both their home school and at Gwinnett Online Campus (GOC). They will participate in the GOC online platform for classes.
- Academic and elective classes will be taught through GOC.
- Students will be able to take part in athletics, clubs, activities, social events, etc., at their home school.
- Counseling and Advisement will be provided through GOC for digital learners.
- Parents should contact the GOC teacher to discuss their student’s progress, grades, attendance, etc.
Device and Internet Access
Access to both devices and reliable internet is critical to our students’ learning and helps to ensure educational equity as more students engage with digital learning resources.
Schools will use established processes for addressing student device and internet needs and will distribute devices and hotspots accordingly.
Families should note that devices issued to students must be returned to the school on the specified date the school determines. Per district policy and procedures, and the agreement noted in the Student/Parent Handbook, fines may be assessed to the family if the device checked out is returned damaged or is not returned.
Families should contact their local school for additional information if their student(s) need assistance with devices and/or reliable internet service. For MS and HS students concurrently enrolled at Gwinnett Online Campus, the home school will coordinate device and hot spot distribution.
Custodial Services in our Facilities
- GCPS has an established protocol for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting buildings, and high-touch surfaces and objects.
- Staff have the supplies needed to clean and sanitize surfaces in the classroom as needed.
For the 2021-22 school year, all students will receive breakfast and lunch at no charge, based on USDA waivers.
While meals will be provided at no charge for all students this school year, families whose students would be eligible for meal support in a typical year should complete the free/reduced-price meal application as soon as possible. Confirmed eligibility for free/reduced-price meals ensures access to many benefits beyond school meals (free SAT/ACT, free college applications, free/reduced internet, additional technology and resources for schools, etc.) Click here for information regarding the Free and Reduced Meal Application Benefits… it provides more than just a meal.
Cafeterias will be open and students will resume using the serving lines and selecting their meal items.
- Menu items will be similar to offerings provided in the cafeteria in the past.
- Schools have established precautionary practices in place to minimize risks.
- Some food items will be wrapped and packaged to avoid direct contact with food items.
- Students may eat meals in the cafeteria.
Information about meal pick-ups for digital learners will be communicated by each school. (Meals will only be provided to GCPS students.)
GCPS has established reasonable and precautionary practices for transporting students to and from school.
Buses will operate at maximum capacity as usual. Physical distancing will not be possible on school buses.
Buses will be cleaned/disinfected at the end of the morning and afternoon routes.
Click here to review the Transportation Safety Flyer that provides information about the School Bus Safety Camera Program and Tips for School Bus Safety.
Athletics and Extracurriculars
Gwinnett County Public Schools will offer athletics and extracurricular activities for the 2021-22 school year. Plans are that events will be open to spectators at full capacity per Georgia High School Association guidance.
- Parents and guardians may volunteer at school, but only in areas with limited access to students.
- Parents and guardians wishing to eat lunch with their students will sit in a specified area set up in the cafeteria.
- Gwinnett County Public Schools’ visitor management process will be strengthened this year as the district rolls out a new tool to promote safety in our schools. The visitor management system is used to verify the identity of a visitor, keep track of check-in and check-out times, and print custom visitor badges. This year, GCPS schools will begin using a new tool called Raptor that enables each school building to screen all visitors against the National Sex Offender Registry and establishes a consistent sign-in process across the district. The goal is to enhance the safety and security of both students and staff by preventing access by those who pose a potential threat. The new system will go live in high schools the week of August 16, in elementary schools the first week in September, and in middle schools the third week of September. Click here for FAQs about enhancements to the visitor management process.
- UPDATE TO STUDENT CHECK-IN PROCESS FOR ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS-- A new process for student check-ins at GCPS elementary and middle schools will offer a touchless option and faster service. The new process is tied to the district’s student information system. Students and their parent/guardian have the option of downloading the StudentVue and ParentVue app to access the student’s electronic ID card. (This is the system high school students have used for the past two years.) This system will be in place in GCPS elementary schools the first week of September and will go live in middle schools during the third week of September.
- Parents and guardians may volunteer at school, but only in areas with limited access to students.
Employees with questions in the event of a positive COVID test and contact tracing should notify their principal and follow the local school Health Response Team (HRT) process.