Atlanta Public Schools announced last weekend that students will finish the 2020 calendar year without any in-person instruction, the Associated Press reports.
The cancellation of any plans to resume in-person learning before January 2021 was a direct result of Covid-19 levels in the Atlanta community, which have been characterized as “substantial” by public health officials.
“Despite downward trends in recent weeks, our community has seen recent increases in new cases, resulting in a current average that exceeds 130 new cases per 100,000 county residents. That number leaves us in substantial spread of COVID-19 and unable to reopen to in-person instruction,” Superintendent Lisa Herring wrote in an online announcement.
A survey of parents in the district was returned by about 22,000 families, 10,460 of whom said their children would attend in-person classes, representing fewer than half of all respondents.
“The decision to further delay the in-person opening of our schools was difficult,” she continued. “But after consulting with our teachers, staff, students, families, and public health officials, I decided this is the right approach at this time.”
High school football, volleyball, softball, and cross country teams will continue to compete, she noted, following the appropriate health and safety protocols, such as no fans being in the stands. In addition, winter sports athletes are still expected to begin conditioning soon, following all health and safety protocols.
The Atlanta Public Schools serves about 52,000 students.