Clayton Schools will be closed until at least mid April because of the coronavirus, and all proms are being postponed or rescheduled to possibly later in this school year.
In a roughly 30-minute Facebook Live Monday that was as much motivational as it was informational, Superintendent Morcease Beasley said he is unsure how the rest of the 2019-2020 school year will play out, but there is no chance schools will reopen before Spring Break on April 6.
“I can assure that we will probably not come back until after spring break, if we return then,” Beasley told more than 2,000 people who tuned in for the district’s first-ever Facebook Live.
Additionally, he said May graduation ceremonies are uncertain because of the ongoing threat from the virus.
“This is the time to believe in science,” Beasley said. “This is the time to have faith.”
Clayton Schools, like districts across metro Atlanta, last held classes March 13, one day after Gov. Brian Kemp suggested school systems close their doors because of the fast-moving coronavirus.
At the time, Kemp hinted the closures could last for two weeks. But that timeline has since either shifted or been discarded as the nation grapples with a pandemic that has killed 471 Americans and infected close to 35,000. Almost 800 Georgians had been infected by the virus as of midday Monday, with about 25 deaths.
During that same period, Clayton has had 18 confirmed cases.
Beasley told viewers the district is distributing breakfast and lunch to students at 21 schools across the county and that Clayton is joining forces later this week with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to also provide groceries at some sites.
He also responded to overwhelmed parents who have complained that they aren’t equipped to be teachers as the school closing drags on.
“Many of you are sending us emails saying, ‘We’re not teachers,’” he said. “We understand. We’re just asking that you do what you can as parents.”
Residents left hundreds of comments, ranging from questions about how parents who can’t afford computers can get access to the Internet to kudos from parents who said they were thankful the district was putting children’s safety first.
Others, however, seemed less than satisfied. One poster said Beasley should have cancelled prom and graduation.
In wrapping up, Beasley said he wanted to leave on a positive note.
“This is not the time to worry about events we can’t control,” he said. “We need to have a positive attitude, a victorious attitude that tells us no matter what we go through, we’ll get through this.”
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