Oglethorpe County Schools shut down after rise in absences

Oglethorpe County Schools have shut down until Tuesday, Sept. 7 after a rise in student and teacher absences that officials said were "alarming."

In a letter posted online, Oglethorpe County Schools Superintendent Beverley Levine announced that they have extended a planned distance learning day to multiple days after seeing the number of absenses.

According to Levine, on Friday, Aug. 27, 42 staff members were absent for different reasons and 20 of those positions were not filled by substitutes.

That same day, Levine says 311 students were absent from school - 14% of the student population. Of those, more than half were absent for three or more days. 

"This is creating a tremendous amount of extra work for our teachers. Our teachers need additional time to regroup, plan, and prepare make-up work," Levin wrote in the letter. "Also, many of them need to get Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams set up to assist with instruction for absent and/or quarantined students."

To respond to the absences, the school system extended the planned distance learning day on Friday to Wednesday and Thursday. The district will send out suggested activities and home assignments for students during that time.

Students are expected to return to face-to-face learning on Tuesday, Sept. 7.

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