Most big, metro Atlanta school districts have considered resuming in-person learning recently. Gwinnett, Marietta, Cobb, Fulton and Decatur have all given students the option to return face-to-face.
In DeKalb, teachers have returned to schools, but the district hasn’t decided on a return date for students yet.
However, the Clayton County Public Schools has decided to stick with remote learning until COVID-19 infection rates in the county decline.
Public health data show Clayton has 779 cases per every 100,000 people in the county. Health experts say schools shouldn’t reopen until a community has 100 cases or less per every 100,000 people.
Clayton County Schools Superintendent Morcease Beasley says the county’s infection rates need to reach that threshold and maintain it for six weeks before schools can reopen.
Extended interview with Morcease Beasley
“While we appreciate what other communities are able to do, we also acknowledge that our community is not a Fulton or DeKalb or Cobb, therefore …we’re going to do what we believe is best for Clayton County at this time, and remaining virtual is what we believe is best,” he says.
In addition, Beasley says 30 to 40 district employees report contracting COVID-19 each week. He said 10 students also reported positive cases last week.
Beasley sent the following tweet Feb. 3:
When asked about the tweet, Beasley said, “… prior to the pandemic …there were issues, there were concerns. And I don’t mean just in Clayton County. I mean, across the board relative to … family income … the levels of education that families have, those families who are more on the front line … some families have the benefit of demanding that we reopen from behind the screen, if you will. We have to consider all of that.”
Beasley spoke with WABE about the district’s decision to remain virtual for the time being and the effects of being remote for almost a full calendar year.