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Two Georgia school systems suspend face-to-face instruction

The latest battle against COVID-19 continues.

ATLANTA — Two counties in southeast Georgia are closing schools and offices after recent outbreaks.

On Friday, the Ware County School System announced it is closing after 143 students and employees tested positive for COVID. 

The school system says 679 students are currently quarantined. 

Students will return to classrooms Sept. 7 and staff will return on Aug. 30.

The county's superintendent, Bert Smith, says the district has made the best decision it could.

"Teachers can't plan. They have to teach the students face-to-face. They also have to teach the students who are quarantined. They're doing double duty. They can't. They don't have time to eat lunch. They don't have time to have a restroom break. They don't have time to just gather their thoughts," Smith said.

The Long County School District decided to do the same, stating in a Facebook post that the decision comes on the heels of rising coronavirus cases in the county's schools.

Attendance is optional for students Aug. 16 and 17, but come Aug. 18, students must pick up a Chromebook to resume classes virtually until further notice.

Schools in the metro Atlanta area are also adjusting amid surging COVID cases in the Peach State, most recently with the Fulton County School System announcing expanded learning options for the school year on Thursday. One of those alternatives includes a "mask-optional hub" for K-8 students.