Covid Surge Forces Atlanta Schools to Start Year Remotely
The abrupt reversal came just days after the district had said that classes for K-12 students would be held in person after the holiday break.
Days after announcing that classes for K-12 students would be held in person after the holiday break, officials with Atlanta Public Schools reversed their decision, saying on Saturday that classes would be online only during the first week of the year.
The decision came “after further review of district and community Covid-19 data,” a statement from the district said. Nearby Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton and Rockdale counties have also pushed back the return to in-person classes because of high infection rates in those areas.
On Friday, the Georgia Department of Health reported more than 24,000 cases of Covid-19 in the state. As of Sunday, the state had a seven-day average of 14,343 cases per day, according to a New York Times database. That is a spike of more than 700 percent over two weeks.
The Atlanta school district recorded its second highest weekly count of positive cases for the school year during the final week of the fall semester, with 306 students and 129 employees testing positive. The highest positivity rate was in August when 520 people were sick.
Students who needed laptops and other devices for virtual classes were encouraged to pick them up at their schools on Monday. Those who needed meal kits could pick them up at one of eight schools across the city.
Atlanta Public Schools staff members were required to go to work on Monday for mandatory Covid testing unless they were sick.
“The data collected from staff testing will be used for future planning,” the district’s statement on Saturday said.
Students are expected to return to in-person classes on Jan. 10.