August 5, 2020 -- As it prepares to start school, Georgia’s largest school district reported that 260 teachers are absent from planning sessions because they’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine because of possible exposure, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Gwinnett County Public Schools in suburban Atlanta began in-person planning sessions for teachers last Wednesday. Classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 12, with teachers expected to report to the classroom to deliver virtual instruction to the students at home.
The school district has 24,900 employees, the district’s website says. It’s the biggest in Georgia and the 12th-biggest in the nation, with a projected enrollment of 180,000 students at 141 schools.
“Through tracing, we know that the majority of these cases are the result of community spread, meaning we have people who have called in to report who have not been at school or work,” system spokesperson Sloan Roach said.
Gwinnett County has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 cases in the state, with around 18,000 confirmed cases, including 4,000 in the last 2 weeks, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The county has 240 deaths and close to 2,000 hospitalizations.
“Given the number of COVID cases in Gwinnett, we would expect to see positives among our employees based on the community spread in our county,” Roach said.
The county school board first planned to give parents the option of in-class or virtual classes, but decided to go with all-virtual classes in July.