ATLANTA — A proposal by Atlanta Public Schools would push back the first day of school by two weeks and have students learn virtually for the first nine weeks of the new school year.
Under the proposal, the first day of school would be pushed to Aug. 24 and students would be learning virtually for at least the first nine weeks of school, or until the community spread of COVID-19 is deemed to be at a "minimal/moderate" spread.
However, should the spread slow to the moderate threshold - based off public health officials' definition 6 to 100 new cases of the virus per 100,000 residents - the proposal suggests moving to either a traditional or hybrid model, with the option of remote learning still available.
As for the delivery of virtual teaching, the proposal said students would remain enrolled at their individual schools and receive instruction from their teachers versus enrolling in a virtual academy. (See page 19 of the plan for differences)
The proposal also included the results of the district's community survey, which found that 57 percent of respondents wanted a structure of schooling "in alignment with health recommendations." On the other hand, 37 percent of respondents preferred a full-time virtual model.
Interestingly, the preferred model appeared to fall along geographic - and socioeconomic - lines, with those living in more predominantly Black neighborhoods in the south and west preferring virtual learning and those living in the more affluent and more predominantly white neighborhoods preferring a model based off of health recommendations.
Among staff who participated in the survey, 72 percent of teachers said they were at least somewhat uncomfortable returning to work, with 45 percent of teachers and bus drivers who responded identifying themselves as "high risk" for suffering complications from COVID-19.
The proposal will be presented by Herring during the Monday meeting, on July 13, where the Board is expected to vote on it.
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