Henry County Schools revert to remote learning for year's start

Henry County students returning from winter break will be learning from home for the start of the new year.

The school system had offered a hybrid option for in-person learning but will change to completely remote learning as the district responds to the continued coronavirus pandemic.

The district sent a letter to families late Monday night, Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis cited a "troubling trend" of the virus' spread which "created a sense of urgency in our school district to look at all options for the continued health and wellbeing of our school community."

The decision comes after an early-morning demonstration by educators expressing fears about in-person teaching while mourning the loss of Stockbridge Elementary School teacher LuAnne Burns, who died from COVID-19 in December.

Burns, who was most recently a Kindergarten teacher, had been with Stockbridge Elementary School for 20 years.

The educator's death has inspired teachers in other counties to continue to protest students returning to classes in Georgia.

"A teacher in Henry County died," DeKalb County educator Deborah Jones said. "So we don't want to be on FOX 5 because someone in DeKalb County has died."

DeKalb County Schools' phased reopening plan is underway despite protests.

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Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris says if employees are not comfortable going back to the classroom there are other options.

"I spent the morning visiting schools really encouraged by the turnout of teachers, while also completely respecting the teachers who made the decision to complete the hardship request application and made the decision that was right for their families," Watson said.

Monday night, Hall County and Gainesville students also learned that they will receive instruction from home for the first week of classes.

In White County, students will learn remotely until Jan. 15.

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