CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — While several school districts are now conducting in-person instruction for many of their students, Clayton County Public Schools are still learning virtually.
Clayton County Superintendent Dr. Morcease Beasley said the choice the district has made to remain virtual since last spring, is what 's best for them.
"It’s important that every community makes decisions that’s best for its community."
"On average we have about 30 to 49 cases a week and that’s with our staff members being out of the building, so just imagine if anyone was in the building at one time."
He said there a few factors that have kept Clayton County's COVID numbers higher than other counties.
"Many of our workers in Clayton County are on the frontline," said Beasley.
That includes, healthcare workers, transportation and other jobs were employees have direct, consistent contact with the general public.
As of Monday, the Georgia Department of Public Health lists Clayton County as the eight highest for COVID-19 cases, nearing 18,000. That same report ranks the county ninth highest for hospitalizations and eight highest for the number of deaths.
Beasley said until the positivity case rate goes down to 100 cases per 1,000 people for six consecutive weeks, they will continue virtual learning.
While enrollment in the district has gone down a few thousand students since last year, administrators said student attendance has remained around 95 percent.
He said the state's management of vaccination distribution will play a role in if clayton county students are able to return to the classroom.
"If they can improve the vaccination roll out and get to tier 1B that includes educators, that gives us another layer of confidence," Beasley said.
Beasley said one benefit of virtual learning is that many teachers have been able to work outside of normal school hours to help meet students needs in ways they could not if they were back in school.