Megan Makin, a 5th grade teacher at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary, smiles while speaking with her students during a Zoom class session on Sept. 24, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. Clarke County School District, like many school districts across the country, found ways to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic by teaching students from a distance using an array of engagement methods. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

The Clarke County School District decided to stop in-person instruction on Wednesday for the last week of the quarter due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in the Athens community, according to a Wednesday letter to parents. Virtual instruction will begin on Monday. 

Xernona Thomas, the district’s interim superintendent, told parents that there was a shortage of teachers, substitute teachers and bus drivers. CCSD wants to return to the classroom as soon as it can do so safely, Thomas wrote. 

“We understand that this decision will pose challenges for our students and families, and we did not make it lightly," Thomas wrote. 

The district also delayed the start of in-person school after winter break until Jan. 19. Distance learning with synchronous instruction will take place from Jan. 6-14, according to the letter.