Atlanta Public Schools to hold Thursday town hall on reopening plan



Atlanta Public Schools’ officials scheduled a Thursday town hall to discuss the plan to resume in-person learning.

The virtual town hall meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday on the district’s Facebook page. Superintendent Lisa Herring and other district officials will review the learning options they plan to offer students and provide information about how parents can notify the district of their choice through an online intent to return form.

Parents can submit the form beginning Thursday.

According to the district website, APS plans to give elementary school students the option of resuming in-person learning first, followed by older students over the first several weeks in January.

The website notes that the reopening plan is contingent on the continued downward trend of the spread of COVID-19.

Credit: Atlanta Public Schools website

Credit: Atlanta Public Schools website

The Atlanta school system initially planned to resume in-person learning in late October after closing buildings in March. But a face-to-face return didn’t happen this fall because officials said the public health data showed it wasn’t safe.

The district has said that one of its leading indicators in making the reopening decision is the local “incidence rate,” or the number of new cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period. To reopen school buildings, APS officials previously said there should be less than 100 cases per 100,000 residents.

In mid-October, when APS decided not to reopen school buildings, the Fulton County rate was around 140 cases per 100,000 residents.

On Monday, the rate reached 317 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

In preparation for a potential reopening of buildings, the district announced that teachers would not teach live, online classes on Wednesdays during December.

Instead, students will use Dec. 2, 9 and 16 as time to catch up on their assignments or work on their own. Teachers will use those days to prepare for the proposed January reopening of school buildings.