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Gov. Kemp says public schools may reopen on April 27, but says that could change

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Gov. Kemp says public schools may reopen on April 27, but says that could change

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Talley Street Upper Elementary. Photo by Dean Hesse


This story has been updated. 

Atlanta, GA – Gov. Brian Kemp says all public schools may reopen on Monday, April 27.

“Today Governor Brian P. Kemp issued Executive Order closing public elementary and secondary schools for in-person instruction through April 24, 2020,” the Governor’s Office said. “Students may return to school on Monday, April 27, 2020.”

But given the projections about the spread of the pandemic, that date could be pushed back further, according to the governor’s statement.

It’s not clear if all school systems would open on April 27, even if they are allowed to do so. City and county officials have been told by Carlos del Rio, chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health and Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, that the pandemic will last three or four months. Gov. Kemp has resisted calls for a more aggressive statewide shutdown to stop the spread of the virus, opting instead to tell vulnerable people to isolate themselves and leaving the task of enforcing social distancing to local leaders.

Decaturish asked Kemp’s office what the consequences will be for families who choose to keep their children out of school for the rest of the year because they or their family members may have underlying health conditions. The governor’s office did not immediately respond.

Here is the full statement from the Governor’s Office:

Kemp Closes K-12 Public Schools Through April 24

Atlanta, GA – Today Governor Brian P. Kemp issued Executive Order closing public elementary and secondary schools for in-person instruction through April 24, 2020. Students may return to school on Monday, April 27, 2020.

“I am deeply grateful to State School Superintendent Richard Woods, the Georgia Department of Education, superintendents, and parents for keeping us informed and helping us make the right decision for our students,” said Governor Kemp. “Throughout this process, we will continue to seek the advice of public health officials, school leaders, and families to ensure the health and safety of the educational community. As we approach April 24, 2020, we ask for continued patience and flexibility since circumstances may change, but we encourage families to stay strong and follow the guidance of federal, state, and local leaders in the weeks ahead.”

The University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia will remain closed for in-person instruction through the rest of the semester since students have already transitioned to all online learning.

Atlanta Public Schools sent the following message to parents after the governor’s announcement:

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and all K-12 public schools in Georgia will remain closed at least through Friday, April 24, according to an executive order issued today by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. The extended school closure is an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

APS invites its students, parents and staff to participate in a live virtual town hall on Facebook Live, today at 4 p.m., where District leaders will answer questions on APS’ response to the COVID-19 closure thus far, teleworking, teleschooling and more. The virtual town hall will feature a live question and answer session with viewers tuned into the event at www.facebook.com/AtlantaPublicSchools.

The DeKalb County School District also sent a note to parents about the announcement:

Because of the serious nature of the current COVID-19 outbreak, the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) closed schools and instituted Digital Learning Days (DLD) for all students on March 16, 2020.

Today, Gov. Kemp ordered all K-12 schools in Georgia to remain closed until April 24 to slow the spread of the virus. DCSD will continue utilizing our digital learning platforms and tools to serve our students. Our meal service throughout the district to students will continue.  Other essential functions necessary for the district to operate will continue as well.

Furthermore, the District will continue to review federal and state guidance as updated to ensure that we are consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students and staff.

City Schools of Decatur sent this note to parents about the announcement:

Closure Information

This afternoon, the Governor issued an executive order to extend the school closure through Friday, April 24. It is possible we will receive local, state, or federal guidance later that may extend this date. Spring Break will be observed April 6-10 as planned. Although we plan to continue to serve meals during the extended closure, meals will not be served during spring break.

Decisions regarding events such as prom, graduation, and other end-of-the-year celebrations will be made at a later date and in the best interest of families and students. However, any events scheduled before April 24 are canceled with the exception of virtual events.

Waiver Information

The State Board of Education approved a long list of statutory and regulatory requirements to be waived for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Of note, the Georgia Department of Education applied for, and has been conditionally granted by the US Department of Education, a waiver that would remove the requirement for mandatory state assessments for this school year. CSD is processing the information regarding these waivers and we will share more with the community once we receive guidance from the GaDOE.

Thank you for your patience as we work to keep you updated.

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