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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- The East Cobb Open for Business Directory
- East Cobb News COVID-19 Resource Page
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