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Gwinnett County Public Schools has announced plans to return to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year. School officials said modified digital learning option will be available.

During Thursday’s Gwinnett County Board of Education meeting, district leaders discussed plans for Gwinnett County Public Schools to return to in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. Officials said the decision takes into account students’ academic and social-emotional needs, the improving pandemic conditions (lower rates of infection), the availability of vaccinations for teachers and other school staff, and guidance from health experts and organizations.

“Plans for the fall reflect the district’s commitment to safety for its students and staff, with continued mitigation efforts such as the wearing of masks, provision of PPE, and strict cleaning regimens,” the district said in a statement. “GCPS will continue to rely on guidance from the CDC and other health partners in developing plans for the return to in-person learning in the fall.”

School officials said that while all students will be scheduled for in-person instruction for the fall, the district will offer families the opportunity to opt out of in-person learning, allowing their children to participate in a modified digital learning option.

“This modified version — which will have digital students learning from digital teachers, some of whom may be at a different location including Gwinnett Online Campus — is intended to eliminate the need for teachers to teach concurrently,” the district said.

GCPS officials said that parents contemplating the modified digital learning option for their children for next school year should consider the following in making their decision:

♦ For staffing and scheduling purposes, parents are asked to consider the decision to opt out of in-person instruction as a yearlong commitment. However, if a family later determines it is best for their child to return to in-person learning, there will be an opportunity at the end of the first semester.

♦ Digital learning will be different in the fall. For example, a student may be taught by a teacher from a school other than his or her own school. Middle and high school students may take some courses through Gwinnett Online Campus or Georgia Virtual School.

In addition, course offerings for digital learners may be more limited than those available for students attending school in-person.

♦ Digital learning is not optimal for every student. Some students did not do as well academically, socially, or emotionally in the digital learning environment. Parents should consider how their child did during digital learning in making the decision for the 2021-22 school year.

♦ Parents may opt out of in-person learning for one child if they feel it best serves that child and choose to have another child attend school in-person.

GCPS officials said this information will be sent to families on March 22 via SchoolMessenger. Only those families who wish to opt out of in-person learning for their students will need to complete the online form available in the parent portal. The deadline to submit the opt-out form is April 4 at 11:59 p.m.

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