GCPS ISC_Gwinnett Schools file photo (copy) (copy)

Gwinnett County Public Schools will switch to a digital-only learning system next week because of the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

The switch is set to only last from Jan. 19 until Jan. 22. The district had begun the spring semester with both in-person and digital learning on Jan. 7, despite calls from three of its five school board members to do a digital-only start that would have lasted through this weekend.

“As students returned to in-person and digital instruction this semester, we acknowledged the need to monitor the impact the rising COVID numbers within our community might have on our schools,” Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said in a statement. “The reality is that our school system — like our community and the state — is feeling the results of the holidays and winter break.

“We are experiencing higher numbers of cases, suspected cases, and close contacts among our in-person students and staff. The move to 100% digital learning for the coming week will allow us to effectively serve students while also doing what is best for our students and staff given the current situation.”

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A major concern for district officials is its ability to effectively provide instruction amid a post-winter break spike in cases. The district reported 125 new COVID-19 cases among employees on Jan. 12. As a result, there are now 785 GCPS employees, including 460 teachers, who are not able to come to work because of exposure to COVID-19.

District officials said GCPS will offer curbside meal pick-up services at the schools and meals will also be delivered along school bus routes during the digital-only learning period. Meal deliveries are expected to run from 10:45 a.m. until noon.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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