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Gwinnett County Public Schools joined its fellow metro Atlanta school systems in opting to begin the 2020-2021 school year in an online-only format because of the ongoing COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic on Monday.

The shift in the district’s strategy away from a blended model where some students would be taught in school and others would learn online is significant for multiple reasons. For starters, it forces families who had been preparing to send their children back to class to switch gears and ensure their kids are prepared for online learning.

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.

(15) comments


So 60% were in favor of returning for face to face instruction? Who's calling the shots here? Teachers(Union), administrators or parents? If you want to believe the political agenda surrounding this whole Covid19 debacle, then by all means exercise your right to keep your head in the sand--Kids need to be in class, with classmates, learning face to face---There is no substitute for in person learning!


Here's an interesting fact from the National Retail Federation. Back to school spending in the U.S. is usually around $86.6 billion. This spending usually occurs August-September and is an important economic driver at a time when when the economy is usually at a low.


Kroger, Wal Mart and other business are not closing, why should the schools close? Business check temperatures and ask if you have been sick recently. The plan that the school system had put in place was a good one. They required students to wear masks and practice social distancing. The same plan that most business require, why not the school system? The economy will suffer. Parents who work will lose jobs because the parents have to stay home to care for their kids.

The school system had 60% register for school., yet the board did not listen. Digital learning did not work before and will not work now. We need face to face class room education, not digital learning. We need to vote them all out come November in order to get someone's attention. The board is certainly not listening to us.

John tuttle

Because Krogers, WalMart and other businesses don't cram 35 young'uns into a 750 sq. ft. room with little air ventilation for 8 hours at a time.


well, why would such a rich system cram 35 students into one room? There are covid illing HVAC filters NOW! Did you NOT know? Private schools are using the best methods possible to open learning in school! Of course this is the answer to Gwinnett's dictator school board.


To say I am disappointed in GCPS is an understatement. They are making this decision based on what? A large portion of parents in the county want their kids in school. Why are we being ignored? Our chldren's education is going to suffer because our school system is too afraid to do what is right. Shame on you GCPS Board of Education.


Purely a CYA move by Wilbanks and the GCPS board. After Blair's stunt at the board meeting last week, I was convinced the board and Wilbanks would lose their courage to open with any in person learning this year. It is an election year after all. And I say 'this year' because there's no way they will bring kids back before winter break.

Wilbanks and the board says they have the students best interest in mind with this decision, but if they truly believed there is 'no substitute for in-person learning' as their notification email claimed, then they wouldn't have gone this route. The long term damage to students from this decision will be immeasurable. Kids only get so many years to be kids and be in school with their friends, and the GCPS board has robbed our kids of 1/12 of that experience. All because they can't stand up to the fear and hysteria being pushed by Everton Blair.

The slap in the face is that teachers are expected to return to teach in school 'virtually'. So by Willbanks and the boards own admission, it's safe enough for teachers, but not students. Shows you how much they value their teachers.


I just sold all of my kids electronic devices that can access the internet and will have my home internet turned off August 1st. This is of course because I need the money for their food and medical expenses. I will also now be working less hours (if my job will still want me) to pay for their care. I have 4 kids. What's your plan for us?

John tuttle

Go to the public library.


I really wish they would quit using this as a political tool. As a parent I chose my children to attend traditional classes because it is what is best for my children. You may disagree, and you disagreement is valid. I however do not have to be mandated by it. Why give the option if you are just going to mandate the answer? Orwell was not just writing fiction, it was prophecy at this point.


Parents who chose to have in school learning are being ignored! What about work? Feeding and sheltering their children? So many jobs require employees be present at job site!! How does the district ignore these facts? Article states teachers will come to school on most days? So how are they avoiding Covid? They still will be going to Walmart, Kroger, etc., This decision to rob a child of an entire school year, in person, goes against logic, in terms of a child's welfare, except for the elite who don't need to work, or can do work at home. Are daycares shutting down? Do they know a secret about preventing Covid spread that they could share?? School leaders should give us better reasoning!


This is nonsense! Our tax bills need to be adjusted. By my calculation they owe us a 75% discount on the "school" portion of our taxes.


Not to mention who will PAY parents to stay home from work to teach the children?? A child can NOT manage this type of learning alone, add to that this common core theory keeping parents from properly teaching math, a nightmare??


Agreed ! Heating ,a/c, water, trash, office supplies, all drastically reduced. Bus employees, maintenance, fuel , all drastically reduced. Substitute teachers, planning days, routine school building cleaning & maintenance, drastically reduced.. lots of other costs as well .... What will not be drastically reduced, or reduced at all is your school taxes. Once a government gets hold of tax money they will never let go. Recall the phone tax for the Spanish American war ? It was around until 2006 ! 108 years !!


Although we are among the 60% who chose in-person instruction for our children, I understand this decision and we will all have to make the best of it. I only wish this decision could have been made sooner so that more time could have gone into planning for all-digital learning, for teachers and parents. Cases have been surging for a month. It's not like conditions just changed in the past few days. It's the indecisiveness that is not helpful.

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