Social Circle City Schools returned to digital learning this week after an increase in COVID-19 cases left the school system struggling to meet needs of students in a face-to-face learning situation.

Social Circle had returned to class Monday after conducting classes via remote instruction last week in the first week back from winter break, opting to hold school via digital learning due to the heightened COVID numbers.

But the school buildings didn’t stay open long due to staffing concerns.

“Our staff members were excited to see the students who returned to classrooms today,” Robbie Hooker, superintendent of SCCS, said Monday. “However, additional staff members, including our bus managers, notified us this morning that they are symptomatic or have been exposed to a COVID-19-positive individual. This increase in unavailable staff members requires to return to a remote-only instructional model for Tuesday, Jan. 12-Friday, Jan. 15.”

With the following Monday already scheduled as a school holiday to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Hooker said normal scheduling would resume after the student holiday.

“We plant to provide face-to-face and remote learning options beginning again on Tuesday, Jan. 19,” Hooker said.

While school campuses will be closed, the schools will still offer free meals to students during the remote learning period.

“Free, nutritious breakfasts and lunches will be available for pick up at the middle/high school campus Jan. 12-15 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.,” Hooker said. “Families can drive up to the front doors at the middle/high school campus and bags will be brought out to vehicles.”

Hooker said the school system would continue to monitor COVID-19 rates in the area and notify parents of future scheduling changes if necessary.

“We appreciate that many of our families prefer the face-to-face option for their children and are committed to only switching to full remote learning in instances where we are not able to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” Hooker said. “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that the change in instructional delivery models will cause your family.”

Hooker said schools would work with families once face-to-face learning resumes to modify schedules for students if parents feel unsafe in current pandemic conditions.

Overall, Hooker said it was important for everyone to take necessary precautions as the pandemic continues to rage unabated.

“We must renew our commitment to wearing masks when social distancing is no possible, staying home when we are sick and sanitizing hands regularly,” Hooker said. “Following these guidelines will assist us to provide safe and engaging face-to-face and remote learning educational opportunities.”

News Editor

Stephen Milligan is the news editor of The Walton Tribune. He lives in Monroe and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

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