Most metro Atlanta school districts to resume in-person classes

10/5/2020 - Atlanta, Georgia - A Clarkdale Elementary School student wears a face shield and a face mask while at school in Austell, Monday, October 5, 2020. Cobb County schools, the stateÕs second largest district with about 112,000 students, will begin the first phase of its reopening plan on Monday, Oct. 5. The district will reopen classes to students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and kindergarten through 12th grade special education students. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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10/5/2020 - Atlanta, Georgia - A Clarkdale Elementary School student wears a face shield and a face mask while at school in Austell, Monday, October 5, 2020. Cobb County schools, the stateÕs second largest district with about 112,000 students, will begin the first phase of its reopening plan on Monday, Oct. 5. The district will reopen classes to students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and kindergarten through 12th grade special education students. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

All but one of the six metro Atlanta school districts that began classes remotely after winter break will return to face-to-face instruction on Monday.

Rockdale County Public Schools will continue another week of virtual instruction as Georgia continues to break its single day record for new COVID-19 cases.

But Atlanta Public Schools and districts in Clayton, DeKalb, Forsyth and Fulton counties will pivot back to in-person instruction after starting the year virtually due to the high coronavirus counts in the area.

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The Georgia Department of Public Health on Friday reported 26,033 confirmed and probable coronavirus infections — a single-day record.

Fulton County Schools, Georgia’s fourth-largest school system, recorded 1,160 coronavirus cases from Dec. 31 to Thursday. That’s the district’s highest count since the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

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But Fulton and other districts reopening Monday acknowledged that are facing staffing challenges amid the coronavirus surge caused by the highly contagious omicron variant.

“With the omicron surge over the holidays, hundreds of employees have reported positive COVID-19 test results,” the statement said.

Superintendent Lisa Herring, who leads Atlanta Public Schools, told The Atlanta Journal Constitution on Friday that the district is ready to reopen. The district said on its website that it was not posting COVID-19 data for the week ending Jan. 7 since classes were held remotely.

And as we prepare to open, we are just intentional about safety and well-being, both educational well-being and mental health,” she said.

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