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Decatur Schools plans to bring Pre-K through 5th grade back on hybrid schedule starting Jan. 19

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Decatur Schools plans to bring Pre-K through 5th grade back on hybrid schedule starting Jan. 19

Empty playground at Talley Street Upper Elementary School on October 21, 2020. Photo by Dean Hesse.
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Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur will bring Pre-K through 5th-grade students back on a hybrid schedule starting Jan. 19, the district announced.

City Schools of Decatur planned to hold a town hall on Dec. 10, but it was canceled at the last minute because school officials realized it had been scheduled for the first night of Hannukah.

Schools have been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reopening them has been a divisive issue within the community: some parents want to remain all virtual until the community spread is lower and some parents believe virtual learning is failing their children. Adding to the pressure on local officials are local private schools and nearby districts, like Fulton County Schools, who have resumed in-person learning. Those reopenings have not been without issues, however, and in some cases, individual schools have had to go back to virtual learning due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Under CSD’s plan, Pre-K students will attend two full days in person with one day of virtual learning.  Kindergarten through fifth grade will have the opportunity to attend core academic classes in the morning during a four-hour half-day, in cohorts of no more than 15.  Special and intervention classes will be offered virtually in the afternoon. Grab and go lunches and breakfasts for the next day will be provided.

Schedules will be changed as little as possible while accommodating requests for virtual learning for both students and teachers. Given current requests, they should be able to offer classes 5 days per week, however, if they can’t maintain social distance they will go to a split schedule.

Grades 6-12 will continue with virtual learning for now. The district will continue with full virtual schooling for K-5 students whose families choose it.

Small group sizes, mandated mask-wearing, and social distancing in classrooms was recommended by the COVID-19 planning committee in order to control the risk of transmission at school even as community transmission rates remain relatively high, but following some of those recommendations makes planning for upper grades more difficult.

For more details about the school district’s decision, click here.

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