AJC forum gets answers from leaders about school safety amid COVID-19

November 18, 2020 Lawrenceville - Virin Vedder, coordinator of Dual Language Immersion program, speaks to students during 6th grade dual language class at Sweetwater Middle School in Lawrenceville on Wednesday, November 18, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
November 18, 2020 Lawrenceville - Virin Vedder, coordinator of Dual Language Immersion program, speaks to students during 6th grade dual language class at Sweetwater Middle School in Lawrenceville on Wednesday, November 18, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

The questions have been swirling among metro Atlanta parents, teachers, and students since the pandemic began last year:

When will it be it safe to send my child back to school?

Is it safe for me to teach in the classroom?

When will I have a prom or graduation with my friends?

While the hope of widespread distribution of a vaccine for COVID-19 grows, education officials here are deciding whether it’s safe for students, faculty and staff to return to school buildings.

To help our community understand this complicated issue, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution hosted an AJC Community Conversation for parents, students, educators and others to ask any questions they may have.

The forum was held March 10 on the newspaper’s Facebook and YouTube accounts.

Watch livestream replay below or tap/click here for YouTube link: Community Conversations

» Or click/tap here to view on Facebook Live: Community Conversations

The event featured metro Atlanta school superintendents who answered questions about their plans to open school buildings. AJC Education Columnist Maureen Downey led the discussion with school leaders. Following that discussion, AJC Editor Kevin Riley hosted a live Q&A session with reporters from the newspaper’s education team.

“This newspaper is committed to providing the public with as much clarity as it can so parents can make informed decisions about their children,” said Leroy Chapman, deputy managing editor at the AJC. “As a parent with a daughter in public school, I understand the stakes.”

Forum participants include:

Dr. Morcease J. Beasley, Superintendent, Clayton County Public Schools

Mary Elizabeth Davis, Superintendent, Henry County Schools

Dr. Lisa Herring, Superintendent, Atlanta Public Schools

Dr. Mike Looney, Superintendent, Fulton County School

Chris Ragsdale, Superintendent, Cobb County School District

Cheryl Watson-Harris, Superintendent, DeKalb County Schools

J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO and Superintendent, Gwinnett County Public Schools

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