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Cherokee County Schools to go virtual for at least a week starting Monday

The district made the announcement on Friday, citing high levels of COVID-19 in the community and among staff.

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — Cherokee County Schools will go to virtual learning starting on Monday, with the district citing high levels of COVID-19 in the community and exposure among staff.

According to a letter sent to families, there are currently more than 400 full-time staff absent due to positive tests and quarantines due to exposure.

"We cannot continue to operate in-person school safely with this level of staff absences," the letter from Superintendent Dr. Brian V. Hightower said.

Though according to the letter, teachers and staff will still report to campus to conduct online teaching.

RELATED: Cobb County schools resume in-person classes

Students returned from winter break on Wednesday for in-person learning. The virtual learning plan is set to begin on Monday with a "tentative reopening date" of Tuesday, Jan. 19.

"Cases are higher in our community, our state and our nation than ever before. Health experts are voicing concerns that a new COVID-19 strain now circulating in our nation will spread faster among everyone, including school-age children. Our hospitals are full," the letter said. 

The letter specifies that to-go meals for students will be prepared for pick up at school bus lanes from 10 a.m.-noon on Monday.

"Parents whose children do not have access to a laptop computer or internet access need to contact the school front office as soon as possible," the letter states. "Students who need to pick up medication or other items that they must have during this closure should call the school’s front office to make an appointment."

Some extra-curricular activities will still be conducted "with additional safety measures in place."

"We are committed to providing the best education possible for all students, which we believe happens in person under the guidance of our outstanding teachers and the support of our staff, but the current staffing situation makes my decision today necessary," Dr. Hightower told parents.