Clayton County students to return to school face-to-face Monday

Clayton County Schools Superintendent Morcease Beasley reiterated Friday that students and staff will return to face-to-face instruction Monday.  (FILE PHOTO)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

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Clayton County Schools Superintendent Morcease Beasley reiterated Friday that students and staff will return to face-to-face instruction Monday. (FILE PHOTO)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Clayton County Superintendent Morcease Beasley reiterated Friday that students and staff will return to face-to-face instruction next week.

In a YouTube Live update on the district’s plans, Beasley said he believes it is safe to return to buildings because the rate of COVID-19 infections is getting better in Clayton County and that positive cases among staff was not as bad as feared.

“We’re grateful for the positive case data for the county is improving,” he said. “We’re grateful that the positive case data for employees was rather low and we are prepared to have school on Monday.”

The decision comes as Clayton Schools, like several other metro Atlanta districts, switched to remote learning this week because of surging infections caused by the highly transmissible omicron variant. Beasley had said earlier in the week that students would return face-to-face on Monday, but later surveyed parents and students about going back into buildings.

Beasley said that face masks would continue to be required in all buildings and on buses and that he would not equivocate on the mandate because of individual beliefs. Prior to the new year, Clayton was one of only a handful of districts that had remained firm in its face covering mandate as other school systems made masks optional.

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“Riding the school bus is not a right, it’s a privilege,” he said. “Therefore it is expected that every student who enters a school bus wear a mask.”

Failure to follow the rules will result in the student being banned from riding the bus, he said.

“That student’s behavior may cause the parent to be inconvenienced when the parent has to bring the child to school and pick them up for school,” he said.

Beasley said staff still need to provide a negative COVID-19 test to return to buildings. Staffers without a negative test will be considered positive for the virus.

The district will monitor infections and Beasley hinted that individual classrooms and schools could switch to remote learning if they are overwhelmed by positive cases.

“We will be making decisions on a weekly basis until we no longer have to make weekly decisions,” he said.