Clayton County Schools to remain virtual-only for rest of semester

Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

Clayton County Schools leaders said the district will stick with remote learning for the rest of the semester because of a rise in COVID-19 infections.

While other school systems around the south metro community have begun offering face-to-face instruction for those who want it, Clayton Schools leaders said their No. 1 goal is to keep children and staff safe.

“We made our decision based on what’s best for Clayton County Public Schools, not what’s best for the surrounding school districts, board of education chairwoman Jessie Goree said at a meeting Monday.

“We made a decision that’s best for us based on the data and science, which is what everybody in America should be basing these decisions upon and not what they want to do with the economy,” she said.

The move comes as parents and some state leaders have been putting pressure on districts to open brick-and-mortar buildings and return to a more traditional classroom day. Cobb, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett and Henry are now offering various face-to-face classes while school leaders in Atlanta, Decatur and DeKalb County have so far resisted bringing students back.

Clayton County leaders have said the district would return to the classroom when coronavirus numbers dropped below 100 new infections per 100,000 residents for 14 consecutive days. Instead infections rates rose to 147 new cases infections per 100,000 residents Oct. 10-24.

“The positive cases in our county are trending in an upward direction,” said Charmine Johnson, an assistant superintendent for Clayton County Schools.

The semester, which began August 10, will end December 18. The decision also will keep staff home for the semester unless a different arrangement has been made with principals.

“We will revisit the re-opening plan at the 2020-2021 board meeting,” Ralph Simpson, deputy superintendent of school leadership and improvement, said.