Floyd County schools reverses decision to go all-virtual after data mistake

FLOYD COUNTY, Ga. — Less than 12 hours after announcing Floyd County schools would revert to virtual learning, the district has reversed course.

The school district voted Friday to allow students back in the classroom on Monday at all but three schools, Coosa High School Coosa Middle School and Pepperell Primary School. Officials said those three schools have a high number of students in quarantine because of possible exposure to COVID-19.

The news comes the day after officials said students would revert to virtual learning until Sept. 8 after 10 students and staff tested positive for coronavirus.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot was in Floyd County, where the superintendent admitted that he made a mistake.

Dr. Glenn White said he made the decision based on the wrong data.

White is asking that per new guidelines issued by Pres. Trump, Georgia reclassify teachers as critical infrastructure. The move would allow teachers to stay in the classroom even if the were exposed to the coronavirus.

Georgia hasn’t decided yet if it will implement those guidelines, White said that if they don’t, he may have to close all schools again soon.

“And that’s the only way we’re going to be able to run school is to do that,” White said. “It becomes almost impossible when that gets started inside your school and you’re having teachers quarantined.”

The President of the Georgia Association of Educators disagrees.

The previous decision to revert to digital learning came about because of confusion over new guidance from the Trump administration that reclassifies teachers as critical infrastructure. The new designation would allow teachers who have been exposed to COVID-19 to stay in the classroom.

“As long as the virus is so prevalent and community transmission is so high in our state, we must look first at the health and safety of our students and educators,” Lisa Morgan said.

Parent Kimberly Wolk, who was picking up her kids at Pepperrell Primary School Friday afternoon, said the situation is confusing. Wolk’s kids will have to learn at home on Monday since Pepperrell is one of the three schools that will close.

“It’s still definitely confusing,” Wolk said. “I kind of feel like maybe they had during the summer to kind of get it all planned out and kind of done better, I guess.”

Wolk said she is not looking forward to going back to virtual learning.

“It was a mess during the summer, completely,” Wolk said. “It was still new to Floyd County schools and everything, so definitely new to the parents.”

White is requiring all students, staff, teachers and visitors to county schools to wear masks at all times.