Clarke County School District high schools will switch to virtual learning for the week following Labor Day as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in schools and in the community.
Superintendent Xernona Thomas described it as a “pause” to “ensure we have the most effective procedures in place to support schools, because it’s been challenging.” The pause will give school nurses a chance to catch up on contact tracing, for example.
As of Wednesday, CCSD’s COVID dashboard showed 51 cases at Cedar Shoals High School in August, with 4.6% of students and staff in quarantine. Clarke Central had 59 cases in August, and 1.6% of students and staff are currently in quarantine. No data was available for the much smaller Classic City High or Athens Career Academy, which means they’ve had fewer than 10 cases.
The upcoming four-day weekend provides an opportunity for “a reset,” Thomas said. Friday and Labor Day are both holidays, so high schools can be closed for the 10 days recommended by the CDC during an outbreak while missing only four days of in-person instruction. Middle and elementary schools are not affected.
Students will be on asynchronous learning (prerecorded lessons they can complete on their own time) Tuesday, with a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous learning next Wednesday through Friday.
A number of school districts and individual schools in Georgia have already gone virtual less than a month after classes started. On Tuesday, the Bibb County school system announced it would close schools in favor of online classes for two weeks after Labor Day.
With the Delta variant, victims are primarily younger. The 10-17 demographic has the highest rate of infection of any age group, according to Georgia Department of Public Health data. A 14-year-old and a 17-year-old in neighboring Jackson and Barrow counties were among those who died of COVID on Wednesday.
“We don’t want to have to close,” Thomas said. “We really don’t want to have to close.”
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