Gwinnett County Public Schools parents will soon get a chance to decide whether their children will do digital learning or in-person learning for the spring semester.

The school system is planning to offer parents an opportunity to make that choice from Oct. 28 to Nov. 15. It’s a continuation of the options offered for this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused more than 50% of GCPS families to opt for digital learning for the current semester.

“We’re starting to send that information out,” Gwinnett County Public Schools Associate Superintendent for School improvement and Operations Steve Flynt told the Gwinnett County Board of Education on Thursday.

“We’re going to be marketing (the option) in a number of areas, but I’m going to tell you probably the most important is going to be our parent portal.”

The fact that Gwinnett County will extend the digital versus in-person option to the spring semester means some students could end up spending the entire 2020-2021 school year learning from home.

Flynt said the district is seeing the choice for a spring semester as an opportunity to encourage more parents to use the parent portal system.

In addition to making a decision about the spring semester, parents can also use the portal to monitor other information about their children, including their grades.

“We’re going to start by marketing that, making sure people know how to get their (parent portal) account and how to get their information for their students,” Flynt said.

In addition to using the parent portal to notify parents about the options for the spring semester, the district also plans to use several other methods to distribute information about making that choice.

Those methods include the school system’s website, school messenger system, GCPS TV, social media, news releases and flyers.

“We’ll get a lot of information (out) on this,” Flynt said.

The expectation is that parents will be making one decision for the entire semester, rather than making piecemeal options for the first part versus later parts of the semester as well.

“They’ve had an opportunity to find out what works best for them,” Flynt said.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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