Clayton County Public Schools announced Saturday that two more of its schools are pivoting to online learning “due to an increased number of COVID-19 cases.”
Smith Elementary School and Rex Mill Middle School will go virtual for two weeks beginning Monday. Students are scheduled to return to face-to-face instruction on Sept. 7, according to the announcement.
They are the seventh and eighth schools to go virtual in the district this month.
The district has not posted COVID-19 data for the week ending Aug. 20. But in reports posted from Aug. 6 to Aug. 13, the school system recorded 265 cases of the coronavirus. Of those, 198 were students, 67 were staff.
Unlike many other districts, Clayton does not post data about individual schools. More than 50,000 students are enrolled in the district. Masks are mandated in buildings and on buses.
Saturday’s announcement said the school district is making decisions in the “best interest of all students and employees while monitoring ongoing matters relative to the pandemic.”
Numerous Georgia school districts outside metro Atlanta have temporarily moved to online learning because of soaring COVID-19 case counts. Metro area districts reported nearly 4,000 cases in the first few days of the new school year.
The numbers continue to grow.
Health officials blame the state’s low vaccination rates and the highly contagious delta variant. Children under age 12 are not eligible for vaccines.
Last week, the Clayton County district said that Kay Pace Elementary School of the Arts was pivoting to virtual learning through Sept. 1.
Previously, the district said Kendrick Middle School in Jonesboro and Church Street Elementary School in Riverdale were switching to online classes. Students in those schools are expected to return to classrooms on Aug. 30.
Kemp Primary School also switched to virtual recently, but students have now returned to in-class learning.
Two other schools — Pointe South Middle School and North Clayton High School — began the academic year virtually because of COVID-19 related illnesses. Both are back to face-to-face instruction, a schools spokesman said.
Last week, Superintendent Morcease Beasley asked residents to get vaccinated and to keep their children at home if they are sick.
“We want to do our part to minimize the spread of this virus,” he said.
Staff reporter Leon Stafford contributed to this report.