The Fulton Public Schools Board of Education got an update on the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and it's return to learn.
Superintendent of the district Dr. Ty Crain said he believes the district is at a good place right now with most students back in the classroom. 289 students opted for online learning this year.
"We changed how we've done school in a lot of ways," Crain said. "All in an effort to keep us in school and keep our kids where they need to be."
As of Wednesday, the district reported that 4 members of the district, including staff and students, have active cases of COVID-19. 82 people are currently in isolation after exposure but have not received a positive test.
He said the biggest challenge is the growing number of students and staff isolating because of possible exposure to the virus. He said it would be hard to navigate if multiple teachers, bus drivers or other staff from one building all had to isolate at the same time.
"That will be the challenge that really gets us to a point where we may have to transition, maybe not the full district, maybe just a building depending on where it is, to distance learning," Crain said.
Assistant superintendent Chris Hubbuch spoke about virtual learning and the district's readiness for blended and distance learning.
He said the major challenge for teachers is having the resources to teach a blended classroom, but the district is working on providing more resources as more and more students and staff isolate.
"For a teacher, the biggest challenge is teaching in what we might call a concurrent classroom," Hubbuch said. "That would be those teaching in person and also online to students who may be online for a short period of time."
He also touched on sexual abuse prevention training and information from the state about assessment.
The board voted to approve a budget amendment which takes into account the adjustment of the tax levy, and more expenses related to COVID-19, like virtual learning, PPE and expanded sanitation of district buildings.
Crain said the district anticipated those changed and more to come, and hopes most will be covered by federal and state dollars geared toward COVID-19 relief.
"So while, yes there is an almost $1.7 (million) change in the budget but we are starting to re-coup some of that," Crain said.
The district also reported that it served 56,635 meals this summer when last summer only 11,586 served last summer. A spokeswoman for the district confirmed the large increase in meals was because of the "Grab and Go" program put in place in response to COVID-19.