“This morning, based on our district protocols and on the advice of the Ministry of Public Health in coordination with the district leaders, we had to make the difficult decision to switch our 5th grade classes to virtual learning. due to the ongoing COVID -19 pandemic and high positive case count, ”the email from East Side Elementary read.
According to the email, students will begin virtual learning on Thursday August 12 and continue until August 20. Students can resume learning in person on Monday, August 23, according to the email.
East Side Elementary is in Cobb County, Georgia. CNN has contacted schools in Cobb County for comment.
Also on Wednesday, Clayton County Public Schools confirmed that as a precaution, staff and students at Kemp Elementary School in Hampton, Ga., About thirty miles south of Atlanta, “will operate in an environment virtual learning for the rest of the week ”, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The debate over how schools should handle Covid-19 protocols has been a divisive issue across the country. School districts, parents, health departments and state officials are wondering how to get students back to classrooms safely at a time when the Delta variant is leading to an increase in cases across the country and so that young students still cannot be vaccinated.
In Cobb County, masks are optional for students and staff, according to the district’s website, but there is social distancing in classrooms where possible.
Some parents have expressed concern over the district’s lack of a mask warrant and on Thursday they are expected to protest outside the Cobb School District central office in Marietta to demand that the district implement a mask warrant.
Georgia’s largest school district, Gwinnett County Public Schools, changed its mask policy from optional to mandatory for students, staff, visitors and back-to-school school buses, regardless of immunization status .
“This decision takes into account current conditions, increasing rates of COVID-19 cases in Gwinnett County and the ineligibility of children 12 and under for the vaccine,” a statement from the school district said.
Atlanta public schools require masks for all students and teachers, as well as other prevention strategies such as physical distancing where possible, as do schools in Dekalb County.
Schools in Fulton County, where students began on August 9, are requiring masks in schools where the infection rate in the surrounding community exceeds 100 per 100,000 population, which public health officials consider ” strong community spread ”.
The piecemeal approach has been frustrating for parents across Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp refused to issue state guidelines but signed an executive order banning schools from using the public health emergency. state as the basis for their decisions.
CNN’s Dakin Andone, Mallory Simon, Amara Walker and Maria Cartaya contributed to this report.