During a Board of Education work session on July 16, Cobb County School District announced that the start to the 2020-2021 school year will be virtual only. All students in grades K-12 will be remote and the start date remains Monday, August 17, 2020. Teachers will still start pre-planning July 27, though it is not yet clear if they will be in schools or virtual.
Cobb school superintendent Chris Ragsdale said, “This decision has been weighing on me for a while. I know we need to get back to face-to-face instruction. That is why we tried to offer parents two options – in-person and virtual – to start the school year. Unfortunately, public health guidance does not make that possible.”
Unlike the end of the school year last year, Ragsdale said that grades will be real, and attendance and engagement will be required. For employees, social distancing will be encouraged, and zoom meetings should substitute for face-to-face meetings, even for employees in the same building. “It is incumbent upon us all to do whatever we can to flatten the curve” Ragsdale said, noting that the sooner we can get out of high-spread, the sooner we can get back to school in person.
Students, teachers, and parents will be able to login to one platform for all student learning during the fall of 2020. The Cobb Teaching and Learning System (CTLS) will be introduced to all parents and students and will enable learning to happen effectively and conveniently from a remote classroom or the living room.
At this time, the district is not postponing or delaying the start of fall athletics, however all other extracurricular activities (including ASP and clubs) are suspended until students return to face-to-face instruction. Cobb County plans a return as soon as public health guidance and data allows for it, though no timeline has been set for a return to the classroom.
Fulton County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney also announced Thursday that classes will begin August 17 entirely online, joining Atlanta Public Schools, the DeKalb County School District, Decatur City, and the Clayton County Public Schools in starting virtually. Marietta City Schools’ Superintendent Grant Rivera also said the Marietta schools would be starting virtual only.
During a special called meeting on July 2, the Cobb County School District Board of Education voted to delay the start of the 2020-2021 school year until August 17th in response to a recommendation by Superintendent Chris Ragsdale.
“We are ready to see learning taking place but the health and safety of our students and staff is always our first priority.” said Superintendent Chris Ragsdale.
From the Cobb County School District:
“Building a plan that works for nearly 19,000 employees, 113,000 students, and 750,000 residents in our county has been and will continue to be a tremendous task as COVID-19 continues to evolve. Our team of educators is thankful for the school community’s patience and continued support as we navigate these unprecedented times together.
For the last three months a team of more than 100 district leaders – including principals, assistant principals, teachers, and district employees – have been working around-the-clock to develop solutions that are both practical in school settings and in line with public health guidance, even as that guidance continues to change.
It is more important than ever that our team comes together to serve students, they need us more than ever. This year will be like none other, and I am confident the plan to start the 2020-2021 school year is based on the needs of students,” said Superintendent Chris Ragsdale.
Cobb Schools has launched an informational site dedicated to the 2020-2021 School Year. Please visit this site for the most up to date details regarding the opening of schools and more details regarding online learning.