Superintendent urges Atlanta students to stay home as businesses reopen

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen urged students to stay home, even as some hair salons, barbershops and other Georgia businesses reopen.

Carstarphen, in a weekly virtual town hall held Thursday afternoon, said she will not be visiting those businesses and said she's even given herself a haircut during the coronavirus shutdown. She joked in the live video that it didn't go well.

“While I know that nail salons and maybe some other businesses will open, I am not going to go and utilize those services because, as your superintendent, I am modeling for our students what we expect during this time,” she said. “If I can get out here and look all torn up with my hair and everything else I think y’all will be OK if you wait a few more weeks to kind of see how things go before you put children and our caregivers in harm’s way.”

Carstarphen said it’s “highly unlikely” that employees will return to brick and mortar buildings through the month of June.

She said the district’s playgrounds, basketball courts and parking garages will remain closed. Carstarphen said people have been cutting the locks off gates to district properties, and she said that must stop because it’s expensive for the district to replace the equipment and it makes it difficult to keep people safe.

APS held its last day of in-person instruction on March 13 and then moved to an at-home learning model. The last day for seniors will be May 1. All other students will finish out the remainder of the school year, through May 22, at home.

Carstarphen on Thursday also announced APS would postpone graduation ceremonies until late July or possibly even fall or winter in an attempt to hold in-person events.