COUNTY-BY-COUNTY: What school districts are starting the semester virtually vs. in-person?

ATLANTA — As students get ready to head back to the classroom and with cases of COVID-19 on the rise, some school districts are taking precautions against the spread of the virus.

Some districts are choosing to begin the spring semester with virtual instruction in the hopes the surge in cases will subside.

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Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools announced Wednesday that they plan to reopen schools for in-person learning on Monday with new safety protocols in place.

On Thursday and Friday of this week, they will offer surveillance testing at nine cluster sites. The district will also implement a new test-to-stay protocol at all schools starting Tuesday, January 18.

Voluntary surveillance testing will be increased to twice per week. APS will also be hosting two more COVID-19 vaccination events on Saturday, Jan. 8 at four schools in the district

Cobb County Schools- Jan. 5

Coweta County Schools

Coweta County Schools will return to in-person on Jan. 4. The school system will maintain the same school-by-school approach of tiered interventions that were employed in the first semester.

Douglas County Schools

Douglas County School System students will return to school Wednesday, Jan. 5 for in person learning. Additional masking guidelines are in place for students and staff.

“When a school site reaches high spread, parents will be notified prior to the next school day that face coverings will be required. Once the face covering requirement is in place, it will be for a minimum 14 day period. This period may be extended if the school’s positive case rate does not fall below 5%,” Superintendent Trent North wrote in a letter to parents.

Gainesville City Schools

Gainesville City students will return to the classroom on Wednesday, Jan. 5. The school district will require students and staff to wear masks.

“Similar to last year, the Covid cases in our community continue to increase and we are erring on the side of caution until we settle into our structured routines. The mask requirement will be in effect when in classrooms, hallways, and on the bus. Do your best to help us stay in school,” the district posted on Facebook.

Greene County Schools

Students in Greene County will return to in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 4. The school district says it will require masks due to the number of COVID-19 and flu cases. The mask requirement may change in the coming weeks as local COVID-19 conditions change.

Griffin-Spalding County Schools

Griffin-Spalding will return to in-person learning on Wednesday, Jan. 5.

Masks will be required in all GSCS facilities as long as the community transmission rate remains at high levels.

Hall County

Hall County returns to in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

“Our safety protocols and procedure will remain focused on providing as normal and safe an in-school experience as possible,” the district posted on its website.

Gwinnett County Schools

Gwinnett County students will return to in-person on Jan. 6.

“Keeping schools safely open for in-person instruction remains our top priority and there is no change to our scheduled reopening for students on Thursday, January 6. Based on available staffing information, we are prepared to serve students in person this Thursday and Friday,” school officials said in a letter to parents Tuesday.

Marietta City Schools

Superintendent Grant Rivera announced in a letter to parents that Marietta City Schools will begin as scheduled, in-person on Wednesday, Jan. 5. Masks will be “strongly encourage.” MCS will continue to offer testing at the Lemon Street location.

“The time may come where we need to make an unexpected and last-minute shift to virtual learning; however, as of today, we are doing everything we know possible to avoid that disruption for each of you, your children, and our staff,” Rivera said.

Newton County Schools

Masks will be required for all students, staff, and visitors when schools reopen for the second semester. Teachers will report for a scheduled workday on Monday, Jan. 3 with students scheduled to return on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

Thomaston-Upson Schools

Thomaston-Upson Schools will return in-person on Jan. 5. The district announce there will be a temporary mask mandate for all students and staff.

The mask mandate will remain in place until the Board of Education’s Jan. 11. meeting. The board will vote to either extend or end the mask mandate.

Troup County Schools

Troup County schools will return to school for in-person learning on Jan. 4 and masks are highly recommended. However, please remember our 1% rule for positive student cases,” officials said. “If a school reaches 1% of their overall student population who have tested positive for COVID, we will require masks again.”

Virtual learning

Clayton County

Students will participate in virtual, asynchronous learning from January 5 to January 7 and return to an in-person classroom on January 10.

Employees will work remotely from January 3 to January 7 and will return the school building on January 10, alongside the students.

DeKalb County

Students will start the semester in virtual instruction from Jan 5 through the 7.

All 12-month and 11-month employees, and 10-month assistant principals will report to work on Monday, January 3, 2022. COVID-19 testing will be available for employees at the Administrative & Instructional Complex in Stone Mountain on January 3 and January 4, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Students will return to face-to-face instruction on Monday, January 10, 2022.

For students who did not bring devices home in advance of winter break, parents and guardians will be permitted to pick up learning devices for students on Monday, January 3 and Tuesday, January 4, 2022. Principals will provide the distribution times. Breakfast and lunch can be picked up curbside January 5-7, 2022.

Forsyth County

Forsyth County Schools will have virtual learning days for all students on Thursday and Friday, January 6 and 7. The district plans to resume face-to-face instruction on Monday, January 10 if it has adequate staff coverage. A final decision for Monday will be made by the end of Friday.

Students may pick up devices at their schools on Wednesday, January 5. Visit www.forsyth.k12.ga.us for more details.

Fulton County

Fulton County Schools announced late Friday afternoon that they will begin the new year with remote learning for students beginning Jan. 4 through Jan. 7.

The district said beginning Jan. 10, they will resume face-to-face instruction with plans to utilize their “Closing Matrix”. That means schools with schools with positive COVID-19 cases equal to or greater than one percent of the student/staff population will continue with remote learning until the number of cases decrease.

Fulton County will require masks for anyone at their facilities from Jan. 10 through Jan. 21, 2022.

Rockdale County

Students will participate in virtual learning from January 4 to January 7 and return to an in-person classroom on January 10.

Teachers and staff will also work remote during that same time period, and return to the classroom in-person on January 10.

“In short, our local community spread is extremely significant. It was affirming to hear the public health officials in our meeting commend RCPS for our proactive COVID-19 mitigation measures and commitment to the public health safety and well-being of our students and staff,” Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts said.

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Colleges and universities

Emory University, Agnes Scott College and Atlanta HBCUs Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University will begin their spring semesters virtually as well.