More Georgia school districts ending early due to coronavirus

More Georgia schools will end their year early after closing down campuses for coronavirus.

After the school districts for Chattahoochee County and Carrollton City announced early this month that they had decided to shut down remote learning sooner than planned in May, four other school districts and two state charter schools are saying they will also end early.

The Carroll County School System will end classes on May 15, two weeks ahead of the regular calendar, the Georgia Department of Education said Monday. The districts for Haralson, Hart and Whitfield counties will end on the same date, which is a week earlier than they had scheduled before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two state-chartered schools are also ending service early: Scintilla Charter Academy based in Valdosta on April 30, three weeks ahead of schedule; and International Academy of Smyrna in Cobb County on May 15, nearly a week early.

No major metro Atlanta school district has decided to end early, although Fulton County will shut down classes for seniors starting May 1. Gwinnett County is sticking to its May 20 end date but is giving students a break from assignments on Fridays starting this week. Cobb County is also moving to a four-day digital learning schedule.

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It's been just over a week since Carrollton City Schools, west of metro Atlanta, told the state education department it would be releasing for summer break on May 1, three weeks early. Chattahoochee is ending May 8, two weeks early.

Schools have been struggling to provide instruction and routine services, such as subsidized meals, during the unprecedented disruption caused by the public health emergency that encourages home isolation for most people. Although some schools have transitioned smoothly to online instruction, many were ill-equipped for it.

Chattahoochee Superintendent Kristie Brooks said many of her students cannot get online and are receiving paper homework packets or assignments on flash drives.

She worries that worksheets and other assignments, even online, will fail to capture students’ attention. She said teachers and parents have had to work overtime to engage students with projects, such as making things with construction paper, and are exhausted.

"How to make math as fun as whatever a YouTuber is doing is challenging," she said.

Here are the school districts that are ending early, with their initial end dates and their new end dates, according to the Georgia Department of Education:

  • Carroll County — initial end date May 29, new end date May 15
  • Carrollton City — May 22, May 1
  • Chattahoochee County — May 21, May 8
  • Haralson County — May 22, May 15
  • Hart County — May 22, May 15
  • Whitfield County — May 22, May 15
  • International Academy of Smyrna — May 20, May 15
  • Scintilla Charter Academy — May 20, April 30

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