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Georgia may push statewide start date of Sept. 8 for schools

Georgia may push all schools to delay the start of school until September.
Georgia may push all schools to delay the start of school until September.

State Board of Education will discuss Thursday whether to advise all districts to delay opening

At its meeting Thursday, the state Board of Education may consider a resolution pushing back the start of school statewide until Sept. 8.

The resolution under consideration would seek to have schools delay opening until Sept. 8, according to sources. The Georgia School Boards Association was not consulted about a possible resolution, said Executive Director Valarie Wilson. “We started hearing rumors earlier today, and the rumors started to take more leg this afternoon. Later, we received confirmation the state board would be discussing it tomorrow.”

It is unclear whether the state can do much more than strongly urge districts to move back their start dates as Georgia has locally controlled school districts. Wilson said a statewide push to delay school starts does not help local districts, many of which in metro Atlanta were planning to start with virtual classes.

“It flies in the face of our position of local control,” Wilson said. “The locals are in the community; they know what they were planning. I don’t see how mandating they wait until Sept. 8 helps them. Some districts have teachers coming in Monday. This is last minute. A lot of school boards are going to be caught off guard by this.”

School calendar decisions are typically left to districts, but the state may argue the surge in coronavirus cases requires an extraordinary response.

Some Georgia districts were planning to open July 31. Others were scheduled to open Aug. 3. Most metro districts were opening with virtual learning between Aug. 12 and 17.

A possible delay in when schools resume will also catch many parents off guard; those in districts planning to open in the next two weeks will now have to find child care.

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