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Athens-Clarke school reopening pushed back to after Labor Day

The Clarke County Board of Education voted Thursday night to delay the start of school and modify the 2020-21 academic calendar.

School had been set to begin Aug. 3, but the board made its decision to push that date to Sept. 8 based on the district’s recognition of the effects of COVID-19 and its commitment to the safety and wellness of students and staff, according to a CCSD release.

“Our number one goal is to have students in classrooms, face-to-face with their teachers,” district Chief Academic Officer Brannon Gaskins said.

“However, as we followed current COVID-19 trends and evaluated results from parent and staff surveys, we recommended a delayed start date," he said. "This additional time enables us to monitor the status of the virus, refine instructional models, and prepare our facilities for in-person learning.”

On July 22 the district will release updated information on instruction models. Stakeholder meetings will be scheduled to solicit additional feedback from staff and parents.

“As I can attest, the health and safety of our staff and students is paramount,” interim Schools Superintendent Xernona Thomas said.

Thomas recently shared that she had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and was hospitalized. “My own experience has helped the team recognize the challenges that accompany the pandemic," she said. "We will continue to work together to provide the best instruction and support to our students, families, and staff.”

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