Metro parents say they are ready to have their kids back in the classroom

ATLANTA — Some metro parents say it’s time their children get back to the actual classroom.

Some of the districts that have not started in-person classes have been waiting to see their infection rates drop below 100 cases per 100,000 people.

Everything is trending the right way for Atlanta Public Schools, Clayton County and, especially, DeKalb County.

A lot of parents are eager to send their children back, but there’s reason to be cautious.

“She’s like, ‘Mom, I don’t want to do this. Can you please find a school for me to go to? I can’t do this anymore,’” DeKalb County mother Beth Goetz said.

Goetz told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson that her 8-year-old has had enough of virtual learning.

As more metro school districts announce plans for face-to-face learning, she’s ready for DeKalb County to do so as well.

DeKalb is also now the county with the lowest COVID-19 infection rate in metro Atlanta.

“We’re all pretty frustrated that there has not been no plan even outlined before this in anticipation of the numbers going down,” Goetz said.

DeKalb’s spread is now considered mild to moderate, with 141 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks.


Clayton County has the next-lowest rate. It’s also yet to announce plans for students to return to the classroom.

Next are Douglas, Fayette and Henry counties. All three have either started or announced plans for in-person classes.

And a lot of parents are ready.

“I think we can’t live in fear. I think that this is going to stick around for a lot longer than we ever suspected,” Henry County parent Jodi Register said.

Cobb County announced plans on Thursday for face-to-face classes by October. Its infection rate is more than 200 per 100,000 people.

“We seem to be in a very reactive state and at the expense of our children,” Goetz said.

“This is a very research-based approach,” Dekalb County Schools Superintendent Cheryl Watson Harris told Johnson in July.

She said then a plan for face-to-face learning was already underway.

A decision could be announced at the next school board meeting Sept. 14.

“So that isn’t something that will start once we decided safe to go back into school, but we’re working very closely with the health department,” Harris said.

Dr. Robert Jansen, with Grady Health System, said lower infection rates are encouraging.

“Everybody’s rates are dropping, and that is good news,” Jansen said.

But he told Johnson that the rates could rise again without mask requirements in schools.

“I’m glad that schools are going to try to open, and I’m hoping that’s successful. If they do the right things, it should be,” Jansen said.

As more students prepare for face-to-face learning, teachers are fighting to make sure districts will protect them.

“Personal protective equipment, the cleaning and the sanitizing. All of those things must be in place and must be done in such a way that it’s not taking away from the instructional time,” Jansen said

For parents of children with special needs, some say more districts opening up campuses could mean fewer children left behind academically.

“And now, many parents are seeing that their child, they’re regressing in their skill sets,” Goetz said.

Health experts have also expressed concerns about a possible Labor Day spike affecting schools going back to in-person learning.

Depending on the district, that will either be right as children are heading back or right before they’re to go back, so plans could change.

Doctors who Johnson spoke with said they are hopeful that people learned from what happened after July 4.