ATLANTA - Fulton County Schools will be all virtual learning from Jan. 11 through Jan. 15 as school officials cite a rise in cases and the appearance of the new, more contagious variant in Georgia.
On January 5, the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 was discovered during an analysis of a specimen sent by a pharmacy in Georgia to a commercial lab, according to the Department of Public Health. State health officials said the Georgia resident is an 18-year-old male with no travel history.
Friday, the Georgia Department of Health reported more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day.
"We are now facing a post-holiday surge of positive cases impacting our ability to sufficiently operate schools; local hospitals report they are near or at capacity, and new information has been shared about vaccination availability to school personnel. These developments have all been part of the decision-making process leading to this delay," the district wrote in a statement released on Friday.
The district said it plans to return to face-to-face instruction on Tuesday, Jan. 19, after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
School leaders say this will allow for a wider rollout of the vaccine to health service workers, school police officers, and employees over 65 years of age.
Educators and school workers are scheduled for the second wave of vaccines.
"Though the timeline is not yet known, we will keep advocating for FCS employees to have access to the vaccine as soon as possible," the district wrote.
"We recognize that our families have experienced significant changes during this pandemic and are ready for a return to normalcy. Fulton County Schools shares this desire and remains committed to providing a safe environment for our students to learn and our teachers and staff to work," the district concluded.
Cherokee County Schools also announced its plans to remain virtual for the same week.
Fulton County Schools enrolls about 90,000 students in 106 schools.
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