Friday August 14th, 2020 10:15AM

Georgia leaders won't try to delay start of in-person school

By Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) Georgia state leaders will not ask local schools to delay face-to-face instruction until after Labor Day.

The murky proposal shot through the education community on Wednesday night after it was first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It was unclear whether the state considered mandating or was just suggesting a later start date. No written proposal was ever publicly released.

"This week, we solicited feedback from superintendents on this idea, but the state board did not move forward with it,'' Candice Broce, a spokesperson for Gov. Brian Kemp, said in a statement. "We continue to work with educational leaders to ensure a safe and productive learning environment for all of our students in these unprecedented times.''

The governor appoints all the members of the state board, and they generally follow the governor's lead on education policy.

A few Georgia districts are scheduled to resume face-to-face instruction as early as next week. A number of others plan to start face-to-face instruction on Aug. 3. That means teachers are scheduled to report to begin preparing in the next few days.

Those districts are moving ahead despite the continued spread of the virus across the state and protests from many parents and teachers. Many medical experts are advising against opening schools in areas such as Georgia, where transmission is high.

"When you have such surges of disease in the community, you're basically asking for trouble if you open schools,'' Tina Tan, a pediatrics professor at Northwestern University, said Thursday in an online briefing by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Some districts have chosen to delay the start of instruction until after Labor Day, including Bibb and Clarke counties. Clarke County announced Wednesday that all instruction will begin remotely at that point. A number of other districts have delayed the start of school by a week.

Until now, Kemp and State Superintendent Richard Woods have been calling on districts to reopen for face-to-face instruction, although they have said the choice is ultimately up to the district. Woods released a statement as recently as Tuesday underlining his support for Georgia's tradition of broad local control.

"The role of the Georgia Department of Education is to support the course of action decided upon by local school districts, so that we can work together to ensure a successful outcome for students,'' Woods wrote.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Georgia Department of Education , education , public education , 2020-2021 school year, school start date
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