The Clarke County School District will switch to remote learning on Monday and continue online the first two weeks after winter break, Superintendent Xernona Thomas announced Wednesday.
Thomas said that the district has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases since Thanksgiving break, leading to a shortage of teachers and bus drivers. Last week, CCSD reported 12 positive tests among students and staff and 95 precautionary quarantines. Testing and tracing has forced the temporary closure of several elementary and middle schools since in-person learning resumed Nov. 9.
Originally, Thomas had planned to go virtual for two weeks after winter break because families could be exposed to coronavirus during holiday travel. However, additional positive cases Wednesday led to the decision to close schools next week, as well.
Winter break starts Dec. 19 and ends Jan. 3. Students will receive asynchronous lessons on Jan. 4 (a teacher workday) and Election Day Jan. 5. Online lessons will resume Jan. 6. Schools are scheduled to reopen Jan. 19, the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
Thomas also said the district is working on ways to reopen high school during the spring semester, perhaps with a shorter school day or staggered days of attendance.
Clarke schools are not the only ones struggling with COVID-19. Jackson County schools reverted to online learning Tuesday because of a record number of cases. Atlanta and DeKalb County schools have remained closed since the pandemic began in March.
COVID-19 cases are spiking all over the state and nation, and Jackson County has been hit particularly hard, with a seven-day average of 47 new cases per day, up from 29 on Thanksgiving. Clarke County’s seven-day average is 55, up from 31. Per 100,000 people, 740 in Jackson County have tested positive over the past two weeks, and 482 in Clarke County.
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