ATLANTA — In the wake of Atlanta Public Schools' decision to put off returning students to classrooms until at least next year, many frustrated parents have voiced their wish to have an in-person option sooner rather than later. However, that vocal set of parents may not be reflective of the majority.
After the decision was announced, our inbox was flooded with emails from parents who are concerned their children are falling behind under digital learning formats.
Response data from the school system's intent-to-return forms, which were sent out to parents asking what option they wanted for their student, shows a distinct divide among communities.
Around 22,000 parents responded, with fewer than half (10,460) saying they wanted in-person learning to begin now. The silent majority, in this case, prefers that digital learning continue while COVID-19 cases have seen a slight rise around Atlanta recently, after a sustained fall for the past couple of months.
The stark divide is best highlighted in two Atlanta zip codes: 30327, in north Atlanta around Buckhead, and 30315, in South Atlanta and Lakewood Heights.
The 30327 zip code, which includes schools like Brandon Elementary and Jackson Elementary, is predominantly white, with an average income of $150,000. It ranks 22nd among Fulton County zip codes.
That zip code had the highest rate of families choosing in-person learning.
The 30315 zip code, which includes Forrest Hill Academy, is 12th in cases among Fulton zip codes, is predominantly Black, and has about 40% of its population below the poverty line.
Those families had the highest rate of choosing virtual learning.
The CDC has noted how race and income can be a significant factor in determining COVID risk. In Georgia, Black residents have accounted for a widely disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.