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Clarke County schools will begin with online instruction

The Clarke County School District will start the 2020-21 school year with all students participating in virtual instruction, with the first day of school scheduled for Sept. 8.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news we will begin the school year in a 100% online environment. This difficult decision was based on our recognition of the effects of COVID-19 and the commitment to the safety and wellness of students and staff,” Dr. Xernona Thomas, interim schools superintendent, said in a statement released late Wednesday afternoon.

The district previously announced the goal to provide options for hybrid -- in-person and online instruction -- and all virtual instruction.

“Regular day-to-day operations for in-person learning are complex and challenging. This pandemic is unprecedented and drastically changes the requirements for how to transport, feed, and educate students safely,” Thomas said. “We recognize the best place for students to learn is in class, and the district is working to resume in-person instruction as soon as possible.”

According to a district statement, the decision to begin school online was guided by current COVID-19 data for the state and region, combined with "ever- changing recommendations" from the Georgia Department of Education , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Georgia Department of Public Health.

“Teachers return to work on July 27, 2020 (virtually) and will focus on virtual learning preparation, including core content (ELA, mathematics, etc.), supplemental content for remediation and acceleration, and social-emotional lessons,” according to Brannon Gaskins, the school district's chief academic officer.

The district issued the following reminders:

• New student registration is open and completed online. All students must be registered to receive technology devices and participate in virtual instruction.

• Parents/Guardians are encouraged to contact their student’s school to update any changes to household information, including a student’s address and parent/guardian phone numbers and email addresses.

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