SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — The return to class will be digital in Social Circle, due to the increase of cases of COVID-19.
In a letter to parents, Superintendent Robbie Hooker said a study of Georgia Department of Public Health data for Walton and surrounding counties left Social Circle City Schools administrators “not confident that we have sufficient available staff members to operate our schools safely.”
Monday and Tuesday already were digital learning days, and now that schedule will continue through the remainder of the week.
“The kids actually received their assignments ahead of time … because these were days that in our original calendar were teacher workdays,” Assistant Superintendent Carrie Booher said.
“We reclaimed these days as options for learning.”
The district had provided weekly updates on the number of students and faculty with COVID-19, or in preventive quarantine. Nearly 9% of the city district’s employees and students were in precautionary quarantine in the last week before Christmas break.
Booher said there were no updated numbers available on cases in the district.
“We found out after Thanksgiving that families didn’t really tell us until that Monday (after the holiday),” she said. “But we have enough to make us concerned about being able to run it safely and effectively.”
The Walton County School District had 80 new cases in the week ending Dec. 17, the last date for which numbers were available. There were 574 students and employees in precautionary quarantine, per DPH guidelines.
In a statement on New Year’s Day, the county district said it still plans to welcome staff back on Monday with students returning to class on Wednesday — but administrators continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on each school.
“We encourage parents to have a plan in place should we need to delay the start of school or begin digitally based on staff availability at each school,” the district said.
“We will continue to monitor local data and communicate as soon as possible if any changes are made to the current plan.”