As a new school year begins across parts of metro Atlanta this week, districts are facing a number of challenges: persistent COVID-19 cases, increased political pressure, concerns about safety and a shortage of staff as teachers leave the profession.

However, starting Monday teachers and students continue their annual rite of passage as classes resume. Here are some things to know:


Here’s when some of metro Atlanta’s largest school districts will begin their first day of school:

Atlanta Public Schools: Monday

Cherokee County: Monday

Cobb County: Monday

Clayton County: Wednesday

Gwinnett County: Wednesday and Thursday

Henry County: Wednesday

Fayette County: Thursday

DeKalb County: Aug. 8

Fulton County: Aug. 8

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Gwinnett requires school employees to wear masks; students and visitors are “strongly encouraged.”

Clayton requires school employees and visitors to wear masks.

In March, Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation that allows parents who don’t want their children wearing masks to opt out of any school district mandates.

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