Cobb schools to start online-only due to COVID concerns

Cobb school superintendent honored

Cobb school superintendent Chris Ragsdale said Thursday morning that the Cobb County School District will be starting online-only, instead of with original plans to offer in-person classes and remote options.

At the start of the Cobb Board of Education work session, Ragsdale said that “this decision has been weighing on me for a while” and that his decision to go to online only was done in part because the district “could not provide any more information than the people asking the questions.”

The school year will still start on Aug. 17, and teachers will still report on July 26, Ragsdale said, but current public health data and guidance from the Georgia Department of Education “does not support opening” with classroom instruction possible.

Ragsdale did not say how long online-only learning would last, and that the district could later add classroom learning.

Ragsdale said public health data indicated that Cobb remains in a “high community spread” status for the COVID-19 virus.

“The sooner we can get out of the high spread the sooner we can return to face-to-face,” Ragsdale said in a question related to that subject by school board member Charisse Davis.

“Our teachers are awesome, and they will continue to do an awesome job virtually, but nothing takes the place of in-person instruction from our Cobb County teachers,” he said. “I am not setting a timeline for how long our students will engage in virtual learning. We will continue to monitor the data and work with public health officials so we can open for face-to-face instruction as soon as humanly possible.”

You can watch Ragsdale’s announcement in full below.

Ragsdale said while many on-campus events are not being scheduled, high school athletics is still on for now.

He said parents and teachers have had many questions about reopening plans, both academic and otherwise, and said that the health of students and staff “is our top priority.”

Here’s more from the district about the decision, with more details expected.

Parents had until next Wednesday to choose a classroom or virtual option for their children for the fall semester.

Parent and teacher groups had scheduled a protest later today at the CCSD central office to express concern about the original reopening plans.

Other metro Atlanta school districts have announced online-only starts, including Atlanta. On Thursday, after Ragsdale’s announcement, the superintendents of Marietta and Fulton County schools said they also would be starting virtual-only.

School board Jaha Howard praised the Cobb decision, saying it “was the right thing” to do, and said the district needs to be more transparent in its decision-making process.

Ragsdale said “this is a totally different environment” from the end of the previous school year, which switched to virtual-only after the district closed campuses in mid-March.

He said the district is still soliciting parental surveys to help in its decisions moving forward.

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39 thoughts on “Cobb schools to start online-only due to COVID concerns”

  1. There’s a petition started to allow single parents or parents who both work to be granted vouchers so a portion of school funds can help pay for academic face to face support for elementary school aged children. This would apply to elementary schools who ONLY offer virtual learning.

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  2. South Korea and many other countries handled this pandemic correctly while here we are making it all about politics. Wearing a mask is being “pro-life” because you are protecting people around you. If you are “pro-life” wear your mask. And we will be over this pandemic in weeks.

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  3. I am appalled as a health care worker in a surgery center, who worked full time during this entire lockdown. I also have an early childhood education degree and I’m a grandmother of 6. Children need hands on learning. It’s documented. Myself, my children and grandchildren have public school educations and have excelled from and currently in Cobb County schools. Cobb county is making a choice to kill our education opportunity for all American students.

    What is America thinking, taking the opportunity of education away from our children and youth. Take the teachers pay and give it back to the parents who will need it to take care of educating the children themselves. Working in healthcare, a dangerous place to be during this time, would not have gotten paid if we tried to do surgery or health care via the computer. DON’T WORK, DONT EAT. Teachers want full pay, benefits, and raises but half the work at home in pajamas or on the beach …..REALLY? Gas station, fast food workers, grocery store workers, trash collectors making minimum wage, certainly not what you as an educator make get up and go to work. You are supposed to be educated. Never have I seen such lack of concern for the well being of the students. Shame on you.

    I saw some of my grandchildren’s half baked computer classes in the spring, with teachers on vacation and their own children and dogs interupting my grands learning time. Or not finishing supposid zoom classes because only a few bothered to sign in. What about the ones that did? Our students suffered enough during this spring fiasco.

    We are quickly becoming a socialist Marxist country where only the elite can afford to go to school, private school that is. Educators are leading the way.

    Give Americans all the tax money you are stealing from parents and children so we can afford to educate our children privately, or go back to school. Virtual learning …. hogwash, goes against every concept you are taught as an educator.

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  4. This problem lies at the feet of politicians who will not mandate masks. If Trump mandated masks for the nation, we would be over this mess in four weeks. If Kemp would mandate masks in Ga , like Alabama, we would all have our children back at School. Publix, Kroger, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Supercuts etc. are on the right side of this historic pandemic. WEAR YOUR MASKS!

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  5. I totally disagree with this decision to go to online only. Education is an essential business and teachers are essential workers. Do like every other business and require to wear masks in order to attend. If that is not an option for medical reasons, then do online only. Don’t take our choices away. We cannot hide from this virus any longer. These decisions are much more harmful than facing the problem head on. Enough fear already!

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  6. Even the American Association of Pediatrics says that there’s no reason to keep kids out of schools – but lots of reasons not to. A threatened lawsuit by the teachers union if even one teacher comes down with c-19 is NOT a good reason to make all schools online. I wrote every single board member – heard back from a couple, one of whom only said that it wasn’t a Board decision.

    Schools should be treated like “essential businesses”, and their employees should be treated like every other “essential business” employee. They were on the front lines through the thick of this whole thing and didn’t bark about it or, that I’ve heard, threaten lawsuits if they come down with c-19.

    How much of this “alarming number” comes from the Marietta City School district? What Cobb County schools do should have absolutely nothing to do with what’s going on in the Marietta City School district. As it’s the Cobb County hotspot on every map I’ve seen, it seems incredible that those numbers wouldn’t be used to get the desired end – and just as incredible that they were as they’re not relevant.

    Parents need to be able to go to work. They can’t if they have to stay home with their kid(s), and that’s going to have a huge, negative economic effect. It’s hard to believe that one person can inflict all this damage on families.

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    • This is a matter that without question should have been left up to the choice of each individual taxpayer and parent. There is no evidence to support the idea that this remote schooling “scheme” is in the best interest of our kids’ health or academic development. There is in fact mounting evidence that the opposite is true. Open our schools up as originally planned!

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  7. This is ridiculous and working parents have been put in a terrible place. I expect my paycheck from Cobb County BOC because I have been the teacher here for the last 6 months. I’m really saddened by the effect this will have on low income families. They really need in person teaching. Every day these kids are away from school is 10 steps closer to dropping out. You people are very incompetent and politically motivated. How dare you think you’re any better than a grocery store clerk or a gas station attendant! This is a shameful decision and you will regret it when you get your test scores.

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  8. My child goes to Lassiter as a rising junior. He has all AP classes with a couple of STEM . Dr. Richie is a wonderful Principal that is in touch for all of the parents. I am happy that that the fine Lassiter teachers will be teaching him virtually. In the very least, this situation is preparing them for the future.
    I work at home until the environment gets better. Please wear your masks!

    I realize all schools are different.

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  9. This is a disservice to my children I have 3 kids and one computer. Stop going along with mainstream propaganda. My child is 5 starting kindergarten at home. I may just move. How can I return to work with three minors at home. At least give us a choice. It sports are still acceptable.

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  10. I fully support the decision and say THANK YOU for doing the right thing. The health of our children and teachers is too important to risk sending them back to school at this time.

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  11. I believe the system is failing the kids. Teachers don’t want to teach but still want to be paid. How are kids going to learn at home? If my daughter wanted to home school the kids she would but she has to work. Since March she hasn’t been able to because the kids are home. She hasn’t been able to get unemployment because she can’t get a hold of anyone to reset her pin. She has been waiting for the kids to return to school so she can work. Well what is she supposed to do now. She is a single mom and you have hurt her more with this horrible decision.

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  12. We pulled our kids from Lassiter today. We have enrolled them in a bona fide, credentialed virtual academy, rather than the cobbled together BS they’re sure to receive from the “good” schools around here.

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  13. Thank you God, most of these comments let me know there are still some humans out here with brains in their heads! I am a mother of three children in the school system and come from a family of teachers, and I can assure you digital learning DOES NOT WORK!!! If I wanted my children to be educated digitally, I would have home schooled them. And have you ever considered if the children don’t go to school and parents can’t work and pay taxes, there is no money for your salaries and all your other benefits (which I’m sure are better than 99 percent of us out here in the real world!!!)! And why did you bother to have us complete a survey in which 80 percent of parents indicated they wanted in school learning? This is consistent with the school calendar survey several years ago – CCSD did not implement the calendar 75 percent of the parents voted to approve. Don’t get me started on my wasted property taxes and the decrease in my property values the CCSD has just foisted on all residents of Cobb County. I know they don’t teach this anymore, but THIS IS TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!!!!

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    • I absolutely agree with you. My husband goes coast to coast and guess what? Negative for covid. In truck stops. And restaurants. And stores. Thank you bs media talking heads. You’re helping to make sure it’s harder for the working people. I just want my son to have all he deserves and not fall behind. We homeschooled our 18 yr old and it was a nightmare (He was pulled for excessive bullying that caused him to start to self harm in middle school). He deserves to have his own life as well and not be a babysitter. This is robbery. Robbing the kids who are in desperate situations where school might be their only help and hope. Stop using your a** as a hat and use it properly CCSD. Hell. I run a cleaning business specializing in BBP and virus protection. I can give you a quote. Just let our children have a freaking chance.

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  14. This is ridiculous. My son is an IEP student. I don’t have any training in this area. My husband is gone for a month at a time and I HAVE to work. How do you propose that we accomplish this? Because some sahm is whining and now my child suffers? Cherokee county is not doing this, so what makes Cobb more susceptible? Parents should have been given the option. A threat of a singular protest and you pander. Fantastic example you’re setting for our youth. Cry about it and get your way regardless of how massively this will affect other people. Perhaps you should look at how other countries handling this instead of panicking and acting rashly. But there I go thinking again.

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    • I am in the same boat for IEP and virtual was not working. Try telling your middle school student, who was in tears upon hearing the news, she could not get the learning environment best for her.

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    • Parents won’t be working or their children attending school if sickness or even DEATH falls upon them do to this disease. School is a place for learning. When did parents treat it as a place to park their kids during the day as they go and earn a living? It’s become a glorified daycare center. We all want to get back to work. But NOT at the expense of sending my precious babies as canaries into the proverbial coal mine. Herman Cain may have been willing to give his life up from Trump. This family will follow the science.

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      • Wow. That hurt. Thanks for your insult I mean insight. I’m sure all of the parents with the same concern as mine are thrilled about you assuming that we all think of school as a daycare. No. That’s not the concern. I was saying that I would have liked the choice. I was saying that there were restrictions yes, but as SCIENCE goes (not politics) children are not susceptible unless there is a preexisting condition. Trump or Cain have zero to do with this. Stop it. It’s stupid to bring politics into it. I have several clients that work for the CDC and I specialize in bacteria and decontamination. You wanna go SCIENCE? Let’s do this. You have every right to not send your “precious babies” to school. I have every right to make decisions for my family. Don’t assume that other parents aren’t thinking about how to take care of their families too. ALL I wanted were options for how to best take care of my child’s needs. Keep rhetoric, religion, and POLITICS out of it. Thank you.

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  15. CCSD should have waited until July 22 to see what parents selected and use that to help make decisions. The superintendent robbed parents of their choice for what’s best for their children before this deadline. Teachers are essential employees. Doctors offices, daycares, grocery stores and other essential businesses have remained open and have developed procedures to keep their employees safe based on guidelines provided by the CDC. If you don’t think it’s safe for teachers then you should be just as vocal for these other folks. There are established models from these businesses CCSD should review and implement to help keep teachers safe. In regards to salaries, if my employer brings in less money or I’m am working less hours I will get a pay cut or furloughed. I’m sorry but the same should apply to teachers and staff (and all these other parents who enjoyed full pay and working less from home). Our taxes should absolutely decrease if we go all virtual. Parent feedback should come from all of us and not just those who are on social media. Leave emotions and politics out of this please!

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  16. July 16, 2020
    Tretha Saxon I am lunch monitor .And worked at the same school for 5 yrs and help out the lunch room when I can because I took that course for the lunch room.I love the teachers and the kids some of the kids call me Grand Maw . I work part time because I need extra money and I have worked all of my life and love it. I hope this is not for long.

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  17. Well now, what will happen to the children that do not have access to a computer?….you should all be fired….everyone that voted for this decision are absolute buffoons. The DAMAGE you are doing to this county. The media with all the inaccurate reporting of this covid has absolutely ruined the life in which we know it. Tell me administrators, are your children going to a private school? Is that why you felt secure in this disastrous decision? Or is this decision totally political and hoping to create more mayhem for Trump’s reelection? That’s what all this is about….Obviously NO thought is for the actual children….It’s all about “getting Trump out of office”… Will the covid miraculously disappear if demented Biden were to win the election?

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  18. I’m so thankful my daughter doesn’t start kindergarten until 2 years from now. I would assuredly move to a school district that had in class learning. There is zero evidence Covid is spread in schools and overwhelming evidence that schools don’t transmit the virus (see massive German study). You are ruining families where both parents work. Shame on you Cobb County.

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  19. This is hard to believe because at the end of last year there was no plan in place for online curriculum. And now we are starting the year off the same way. Our daughter did 1 hour a day 3 times a week and completely lost interest in school all together. Online meetings were a joke and on top of that both my wife and I work full time so we are essentially home schooling our kids when its the job of the teachers to keep kids interested in learning.

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  20. This is ridiculous!!! The chances of spreading the virus in schools is very slim! Look at European countries! Look at facts! Our children need to be in the class room being educated properly to be able to compete in this world. This decision of yours is so short sighted and shameful. Cobb County is being foolish!
    You’re put into your positions because you’re supposed to be smart people so figure it out!! Families need their kids to be in the class room so parents can go to work. So, in come cases, children can have meals, so they can have the socialization they need, and the one on one experience with a real live teacher!
    You’re not saving lives. You’re shirking your everlovin’ duty as leaders of Cobb County. Re-think this terrible decision!

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    • The fact that there is no on-line curriculum, is only one aspect of the lower level of education our children and grandchildren will receive.
      If there is only on-line training, then all facility maintenance budgets need to be revised down. If students aren’t allowed in the buildings, the staff should also work from their homes.

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  21. Absolutely Disgusted by this decision. You are hurting our children. I will be looking for private options immediately and hope this ridiculous decision gets revoked by someone that is looking at FACTS and not Politics.

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    • But don’t you get it? What is best for the children is not even factored into the equation! Everything is based on false facts and politics. How could 100 percent of those tested in approximately 200 labs in Florida come back as covid positive. It is a statistical impossibility!!!! Don’t believe anything they say!!

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