Atlanta Public Schools could resume face-to-face learning for students in kindergarten through 2nd grade and for students with learning disabilities on Oct. 26.
Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring said during a Facebook town hall session on Sept. 24 that the Atlanta School Board will make a decision on the reopening plan at its Oct. 5 meeting, which begins virtually at 2:30 p.m. and can be watched at atlantapublicschools.us/apsboard.
Herring said an in-person learning schedule for grades 3 through 12 would also likely be decided at the Oct. 5 meeting. Beginning Sept. 28, parents will receive a survey on whether they plan to send their students back to class or continue virtually.
She said the decision to resume any classroom education would be based on COVID-19 numbers in the community and if there is an increase in cases, all learning could remain virtual.
Currently, COVID-19 spread is still considered “substantial” in the city with more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents, but those numbers are trending downward, Herring said.
Parents will have the option to keep their children learning at home through two different virtual models. The site-based virtual model allows students to learn at home while remaining enrolled with a teacher from their home school. APS Virtual Academy (AVA) is an option for longterm virtual learning for kids in elementary through 12th grade.
APS central administration staff could be back in their physical offices on Oct. 12, while school-based staff might be back in buildings on Oct. 19.
Students and staff will be required to wear masks that cover the nose and mouth throughout the school day. There will also be daily temperature screenings, social distancing in classrooms with students three to six feet apart, and hand sanitizing stations installed in classrooms and common areas.
Students showing symptoms at school will be sent to a monitored isolation area to await pickup by a parent or guardian.
Herring said there would be extensive cleaning of schools and buses to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Herring acknowledged that there was a wide range of opinions on when APS should resume in-person learning. She said APS has been accused of being “overly cautious” in its choices as other school districts have already returned to class or soon will.
“We must remain unified in this season of protest and pandemic,” Herring said. “We see you and we hear you.”