Students return to school at Barrow Elementary School on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. Athens' students have the option of continuing online learning or opting for in-person instruction at Clarke County School District elementary and middle schools. This is the second week students have attended in-person classes since schools closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; @taylormckenzie_photo)

Hilsman Middle School paused in-person instruction until Nov. 30, according to a Tuesday letter from principal Cappy Douglass. The school identified a positive case of COVID-19 in its community. The letter didn’t say if the case was a student or staff member. 

Clarke Middle School also reported a COVID-19 case on campus but didn’t move to virtual learning as of press time. Principal Christopher Pendley’s Wednesday email to parents told them to assess their child for symptoms of the virus. 

Hilsman became the second Clarke County school to temporarily discontinue in-person instruction after reopening classrooms on Nov. 9. Fowler Drive Elementary School made the decision to close classrooms to students last week. Fowler Drive didn’t have a confirmed COVID-19 case, but several staff members were exposed to the virus. 

The Clarke County School District works with local public health officials to guide its decision-making process, Director of School Nursing Amy Roark said in a reopening information session. 

COVID-19 also disrupted in-person learning at schools in neighboring counties. Elbert County began virtual learning on Tuesday following an “unprecedented increase” of positive cases in the county. 

Two Jackson County schools — West Jackson Elementary and East Jackson Middle — transitioned from in-person to virtual learning for the remainder of this week due to COVID-19, according to media specialist Jennifer Saine.