Henry County Schools to start semester remotely for first 2 weeks after teacher’s death

Henry County Schools to start semester remotely for first 2 weeks after teacher’s death

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — Henry County Schools announced students will start the second semester remotely for the first two weeks starting Jan. 11.

The news comes after blowback from teachers about returning to the classroom in person after the death of a beloved kindergarten teacher from COVID-19.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus Pandemic in Georgia]

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LuAnn Burns taught at Stockbridge Elementary School for over 20 years. She recently died after contracting the virus.

A district spokesperson told Channel 2 Action News there were three positive cases at Stockbridge Elementary over the holidays and that at least 16 staff members had to quarantine because they were either exposed or also tested positive for COVID.

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“One death is too many. We can’t teach from the grave,” said teacher Molly Hammer. “We can get kids caught up when it’s safe, when we’re in a safe environment. We will be able to get kids caught up because we are good teachers.”

Teachers rallied last week after Burns’ death, demanding a return to remote learning.

School officials announced Tuesday that all students will return to school remotely for the first two weeks while school district leaders and health officials continue to monitor community conditions. Children will have the option to return to on-campus learning on Jan. 25.

“Through deep discussions and collaboration with our valuable medical and government agency partners, it was abundantly clear that our county’s COVID-19 numbers were dramatically trending in the wrong direction,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis. “Our many partners are feeling the strain in their respective fields with overwhelming numbers of positive COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and quarantining taking place. These all have implications on the safety and health of our county including our school district of 43,000 students, 6,000 employees, and their families.”

School meals will still be provided to families free of charge for the rest of the semester through curbside pick-up and all students have been equipped with a device for learning at home.

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