FILE PHOTO.
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

More than one in 10 Georgia students to end school early for coronavirus

A couple more school districts around Georgia are ending their school year early, bringing the total number of students heading to an early summer break at nearly 220,000.

The schools in Baker County and Dalton are ending service May 15, a week earlier than originally scheduled, with Dalton releasing seniors even sooner, on May 8, the Georgia Department of Education reported Wednesday.

Cirrus Academy Charter School, a state-chartered school based in Macon, will shutter even earlier, on May 1, which is three weeks ahead of their previously planned end of the school year.

These are the latest in a string of early shutdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced schools into so-called “remote” learning, with varying success.


>>The coronavirus has forced parents to become teachers while they do their own day jobs. What are your plans if social distancing mandates continue until fall, and there are no summer school activities or camps for your child? What will you do if you must leave home for work as the state reopens for business? Tell us about it at CoronavirusEducation@ajc.com


In some cases, students lack the technology to get online and districts, such as Marietta City Schools, have had to get creative. That small district in Cobb County has installed Wi-Fi hot spots with 5G cellular connections on 12 school buses that disperse across the city and park all day, so students can gather around (at a safe distance) and get online. Even where such technical problems have been overcome, though, some teachers have found it difficult to translate classroom curriculum to a digital environment. Some districts have resorted to delivering paper homework packets.

Meanwhile, many teachers are juggling to do their jobs while managing their own children, just as parents of their students attempt to work while shepherding their kids through homework.

Counting these latest additions, 17 school districts and state charter schools are ending early, including DeKalb County in metro Atlanta, by far the largest. Altogether, these districts and charter schools enroll 12% of the state’s nearly 1.8 million public school students.

>>RELATED: Georgia schools to remain closed as businesses begin reopening

>>ALSO: Time will tell the toll on Georgia schools closed for coronavirus

>>AND: Henry Schools ending classes a week early, targeting June for prom

>>AND: DeKalb Schools announces its school year will end early

Other districts are adjusting their attendance calendars without necessarily ending early for every student.

Fulton County, also in metro Atlanta, for instance, will continue with its regular calendar for all but seniors, who will end May 1. And Gwinnett and Cobb counties, the state’s two largest school districts, both also in the metro area, have moved to four-day schedules.

Here is the list of school districts and state charter schools reporting an early end of their school year to the state,* with their original and new end dates and enrollment as of October, the last official count.

Districts:

  1. Baker County: May 22 origional end date, May 15 new end date (May 8 for seniors), 268 enrolled
  2. Bibb County: May 22, May 1, 21,812
  3. Carroll County: May 29, May 15, 15,005
  4. Carrollton City: May 22, May 1, 5,441
  5. Chattahoochee County: May 21, May 8, 930 
  6. Dalton: May 22, May 15, 7,883
  7. DeKalb County: May 21, May 15, 98,800 
  8. Haralson County: May 22, May 15, 3,345 
  9. Hart County May 22 May 15, 3,559 
  10. Henry County*: May 22, May 15 (May 8 for seniors), 43,009
  11. Pickens County May 22 May 8, 4,333 
  12. Whitfield County May 22 May 15, 12,873

Charters

  1. Cirrus Charter Academy: May 22, May 1, 514 
  2. International Academy of Smyrna: May 20, May 15, 430 
  3. Ivy Preparatory Academy: May 21, May 15, 491 
  4. Scintilla Charter Academy: May 20, April 30, 588 
  5. Statesboro STEAM Academy: May 22, May 8, 171 

*As of Wednesday afternoon, Henry County had not notified the Georgia Department of Education that it was ending early, but the district reported the information to parents April 17 and has told the state agency that it is considering an early end but hasn’t officially changed the last day of school for “teacher contracts or the time available for a student who has to make up school work.” Here is the AJC report on the decision last week.

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