Gwinnett school district asks community about ‘living with COVID-19′

School administrators at Norcross Elementary School watch the students getting off the buses on Jan. 10, 2022. Gwinnett County Public Schools is using an online platform to gather community feedback on COVID-19 mitigation measures. (Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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School administrators at Norcross Elementary School watch the students getting off the buses on Jan. 10, 2022. Gwinnett County Public Schools is using an online platform to gather community feedback on COVID-19 mitigation measures. (Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The district has gathered thousands of responses

If you want to tell Gwinnett County Public Schools how it should handle the pandemic moving forward, you now have the chance to do that.

The district recently launched an online platform and asked: “What mitigation strategies, practices, or procedures should we consider as we adjust to living with COVID-19?”

In the first two days, that question drew more than 20,000 responses. The question will remain open through Wednesday.

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ThoughtExchange is the platform being used. It allows people to respond as many times as they want, but identical thoughts from the same users are removed, according to the district. Users can also rate other responses.

Most of the top-rated responses say that students and staff should stay home when sick. Other responses range from saying masks should be mandatory to saying the district should end all COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

With approximately 180,000 students, the school system is the state’s largest district. The district has reported nearly 17,000 COVID-19 cases for the 2021-2022 school year, as of Feb. 6.

The district has mandated masks in its buildings and on buses since the school year began in August. District policy states that masks become optional if the Georgia Department of Health reports two consecutive weeks of “moderate” or lower community transmission levels in Gwinnett County.

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The responses and ratings will “help the district gain a better understanding of what students, families, staff and community members think about key issues, initiatives and topics,” said a district news release.

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