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Atlanta-area elementary students move to virtual learning after COVID-19 outbreak

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Elementary students at two Atlanta-area schools are temporarily moving to virtual learning due to an increase in COVID-19 cases as districts attempt to bring back in-person instruction amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. 

An email sent by East Side Elementary School in Cobb County asked parents of fifth-grade students to pick their children up by noon Wednesday, adding that they would switch to virtual learning starting Thursday, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A Cobb County School District spokeswoman told the outlet in a statement that the move was made based on district protocols requiring a class to switch to remote learning when a certain number of students or staff members are quarantining due to the virus. 

The fifth-grade students are scheduled to return to in-person learning on Aug. 23, according to the Journal-Constitution. 

The Hill has reached out to the Cobb County School District for additional information. 

Clayton County Public Schools also said in a press release Wednesday that students at Church Street Elementary School in Riverdale, located about 13 miles south of Atlanta, were switching to virtual learning through Aug. 30 “due to an increased number of COVID-19 cases.” 

The move came a day after the school district announced a similar movie for staff and students at Kemp Primary School in Hampton, roughly 30 miles south of Atlanta, saying that the school would “operate in a virtual learning environment for the remainder of the week” due to the pandemic. 

“The school district will continue to make decisions based on the best interest of all students and employees while monitoring ongoing matters relative to the pandemic,” the Tuesday press release added. 

The reported outbreaks among elementary school students come amid ongoing debates between school districts and governments over the best ways to return to in-person learning this fall. 

According to the website for Cobb County Schools, masks are optional for students and staff, though social distancing in classrooms and school buildings “when appropriate and feasible” is required. 

However, some other Georgia school districts, including Atlanta Public Schools and Dekalb County Schools, have implemented mask mandates for students and teachers. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has declined to issue statewide restrictions on mask mandates in schools like the ones made by fellow Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis in Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas, both of whom have faced pushback from local school districts that wish to require facial coverings to keep students and staff safe. 

Tags Atlanta Atlanta Journal-Constitution Brian Kemp COVID-19 outbreak Elementary School Georgia in-person learning Pediatrics Ron DeSantis virtual learning
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