Cobb County

Cobb County schools says year will start fully online August 17

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Cobb County schools announced Thursday that the district will go to 100% remote learning starting August 17.

Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said that the school year will start in a virtual environment.

It’s unclear if it will last for the whole year or just the first semester. School officials told Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose that they would like to return to face-to-face learning as soon as possible.

[RELATED: Cobb parents, teachers frustrated over proposed reopening plan]

The decision was announced in a virtual board meeting Thursday morning. The district is calling their plan “Remote Choice.”

Athletics for the fall have not been canceled.

The school district initially announced that there would be a face-to-face learning option, but that seems to have been rolled back after parents expressed frustration with the plan.

Ragsdale said the decision was not an easy one and that he made it after consulting Cobb County Health Director Dr. Janet Memark.

“Our teachers are awesome, and they will continue to do an awesome job virtually, but nothing takes the place of in person instruction from our Cobb County teachers,” Ragsdale said. “I am not setting a timeline for how long our students will engage in virtual learning.”

The district said it will provide devices including tablets and laptops to students who don’t have those devices at home.

[RELATED: COUNTY-BY-COUNTY: Plans for returning to school this fall]

The Cobb County School district is the state’s second largest district.

Marietta City Schools announced that they will recommend the district move to all-digital learning in a board meeting on Friday.

Jose talked to parents and students to get their reactions to the news. Some went ahead with a rally to protest Cobb’s previously-announced approach, which would have allowed some students back in the classroom.

At the rally at Larry Bell Park, one sign read “science over politics.”

McKenzie Titus will be starting her senior year at Pebblebrook High School at home.

“I am grateful we have the opportunity to do online schooling,” Titus said. “However, it is not in the best interest of everyone.”

Kara Harris has a daughter at Hillgrove High School. She said she has mixed feelings about virtual learning.

“She really needs that in-class instruction to get the full benefit of it, and I’m not happy she’s not going to have that,” Harris said. “But on the other hand, I’m glad she’s going to be safe.”

Teacher Gregory George said he is prepared to teach online, but hopes district leaders have a better plan in place before students return to in-person learning.

“Hey, we need to be wearing masks in public,” George said. “Hey, we need to be social distancing. They need to echo those sentiments to the governor. So we have plans in place. If we don’t get this under control, we’re never going back to school.”