X

Gwinnett plans to start school year with online-only classes after all

July 11, 2020 Suwanee - Participants rally in Town Center Park during Gwinnett Citizens for Equity and Justice event, a rally and information session organized by Gwinnett Educators for Equity & Justice, at Town Center Park in Suwanee on Saturday, July 11, 2020. They are explaining their stance on forcing Gwinnett schools to include implicit bias training for educators, include cultural and racial history and education in curriculum and hire more teachers of color.  (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
July 11, 2020 Suwanee - Participants rally in Town Center Park during Gwinnett Citizens for Equity and Justice event, a rally and information session organized by Gwinnett Educators for Equity & Justice, at Town Center Park in Suwanee on Saturday, July 11, 2020. They are explaining their stance on forcing Gwinnett schools to include implicit bias training for educators, include cultural and racial history and education in curriculum and hire more teachers of color. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Gwinnett County Public Schools announced Monday morning that it will join most other districts in metro Atlanta and hold classes this fall online-only.

During a call with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Board co-chair Carole Boyce said a news release was imminent.

Although school board member Everton Blair’s impassioned speech last week at the regular meeting caused the audience to break out in applause, the other board members appeared unfazed and determined to start the year with in-person classes. In fact, afterward board chair Louise Radloff uttered, “I could strangle him.”

On Sunday, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, who represents District 3, issued a statement saying that she, too, believes the spike in COVID-19 cases in Gwinnett County is cause to limit instruction to online-only.

“When I saw the incredible spike Friday and heard Dr. [Kathleen] Toomey’s news conference the same day about how Gwinnett and two other counties account for 26% of cases, I knew that there wouldn’t be enough time before the start of school to see a significant enough decline to ensure that students, teachers and staff would be safe,” she said Monday morning.

Although she wasn’t aware that a teachers’ group, Gwinnett Educators for Equity and Justice, has planned a march and demonstration today at the district’s Instructional Center in Suwanee, she said she appreciated the passion and determination.

“I respect and admire organizing for what anyone believes is right,” she said.

Boyce said she fully supports Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks decision and that the board doesn’t have to vote on the action.

“It’s the right thing to do right now,” she said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will be at the demonstration today. Look for updates at AJC.com.