CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - Monday is the first official day of school for students in Cherokee County. Parents were given the option to either send their kids for in-person learning or virtual learning.
The district says 33,000 students will be going back for in-person learning and 9,500 will be learning online.
Auden Saylor's two children are counting down the minutes until they return to school.
"I am very excited. My kids are ridiculously excited," explained Saylor, "They are literally on a countdown schedule to bedtime tonight which is something that's never happened."
Parents in Cherokee County were given the tough choice between in-person or digital learning to start the year. Saylor decided to send her kids back to the classroom.
"I'm a little excited and nervous because this is going to be their new normal. Face masks are going to be their new normal," said Saylor.
"My son does have respiratory issues and even if he didn't, I just don't feel like it's a safe situation right now because things are just unprepared," said Ashley Dixon, another Cherokee County parent.
Some parents who opted for digital learning say there hasn't been enough guidance about how it will look or even, in some cases, who their teachers will be.
"It sounds like the kids that are actually going into school, it's a higher priority than it is for the kids that are doing it online or at home," said Dixon.
District officials say if a student or staff member tests positive for the coronavirus, they will quarantine them and the Department of Public Health will help with next steps. The Department of Health will also help with contact tracing.
Officials have implemented several safety protocols in schools like extra disinfecting, staggered lunch schedules, and a mask requirement for teachers and staff. Parents are also being asked to take their child's temperature before coming to school.
Polk and Paulding Counties are also resuming classes Monday. Just like Cherokee County, Paulding schools also gave parents the choice between in-person or digital learning.
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