Clarke County school bus generic copy

A Clarke County School District bus. (Photo/Reynolds Rogers)

All students in the Clarke County School District will begin the 2020-21 school year online, according to the district’s news release on Wednesday afternoon.

CCSD previously planned to return to in-person classes with a virtual learning option.

The school year will still start on Sept. 8, more than a month after the original start date of Aug. 3.

“Regular day-to-day operations for in-person learning are complex and challenging,” interim superintendent Xernona Thomas said in the press release. “This pandemic is unprecedented and drastically changes the requirements for how to transport, feed, and educate students safely. We recognize the best place for students to learn is in class, and the district is working to resume in-person instruction as soon as possible.”

There have been 1,306 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Athens Clarke-County, as of Wednesday. Georgia is one of 11 states in the red zone for test positivity, meaning that more than 10% of COVID-19 test results come back positive.

In a Board of Education meeting on July 16, chief academic officer Brannon Gaskins said delaying the start of school would allow CCSD to assess the impact of the University of Georgia returning to school on Aug. 20. The district now has even more time.

CCSD’s change to online learning came two days after Gwinnett County, the largest school district in Georgia, decided to start school online. Atlanta Public Schools will have virtual learning for the first nine weeks, according to a plan from superintendent Lisa Herring.

CCSD teachers will return to work on July 27 in a virtual capacity, the release said.