CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - The increasing number of COVID-19 cases is forcing some school districts to go back to virtual learning.
Cherokee County parent, Darryl Green, said he's disappointed his daughter won't be going back to class, but he understands.
"We were looking forward to having her back in school. It's not just the academics, it's the social side as well," said Green.
His daughter, Tori, is a high school junior in Cherokee County. She just went back to school face-to-face after a long winter break. Now she'll be taking classes from her living room.
"You don't have that face to face interaction with the teacher so it's harder to understand, especially math and history," said Tori.
Cherokee County Schools announced Friday all classes will be virtual starting Monday until at least January 19. In a statement, Superintendent Brian Hightower said more than 400 of their 5,000 full-time staff were absent due to "positive tests and quarantines due to exposure" and they simply couldn't operate with that number of staff members out.
"The numbers are just astronomical," said Tiffany Robbins, President of Cherokee County Educators Association.
Robbins said she feared something like this would happen. She said she has been advocated for stricter safety guidelines for teachers as well as mandatory masks for the students for months.
"What disappoints me and upsets me is that the decision wasn't made before this happened, that we had to wait until there were so many sick and quarantined employees that it forced the shutdown," said Robbins.
Fulton County Middle and High School students who were scheduled to go back to the classroom this Monday will now be virtual through January 19th as well. School officials said, "We are now facing a post-holiday surge of positive cases impacting our ability to sufficiently operate schools". The statement mentioned hospitals are at capacity.
Henry County Schools announced earlier this week they are shifting to remote operations until January 25th, citing similar issues with the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
The Cherokee County superintendent said he understands this creates hardships but says it is necessary to give students and employees 10 days to get healthier.
"I'm glad they're staying safe, that's the most important thing, but remote learning has its challenges," said Darryl Green.
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