CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — Another school district is back to learning Wednesday - this time, Bartow County.
That district let parents choose between in-person and virtual learning. There are no face coverings required.
Meanwhile, districts like Cherokee County are on Day Three of some in-person learning, which has led to some cases of COVID-19 among students and teachers.
But while the debate on whether students should learn inside the classroom - or not - as the pandemic continues, a Cherokee County mom said there really isn't a right or wrong answer on how to get kids back to learning.
Liz Trowbridge, like many other parents across the state, had a tough decision to make this school year amid the pandemic. She has an 11-year-old at Creekland Middle and a 16-year-old at Creekview High School. She chose for both to go back to school for in-person learning.
Trowbridge told 11Alive she chose that mode, because she didn't think there was enough support for honors and AP classes through the virtual academy, leaving her feeling like there wasn't much of a choice.
"The caution is there but this is the best thing for my kids is to go
face-to-face instead of virtual learning," she said.
The Cherokee County School District said the majority of families - 78 percent - opted for in-person learning. The district said it is following health guidelines in welcoming students back into the building, however masks were not a requirement for students, and are only being recommended.
Trowbridge said her high-schooler saw just about half of her peers
wearing masks. And while, she doesn't believe masks should be
mandated for kids, she does want to see educators explain why they are
"Making the kids more aware of how important wearing a mask is and why
we are doing this, instead of just, 'put it on,' you know, it's required
kind of thing," she explained.
But having students inside the classroom has already proven to come with challenges of keeping them health. On Monday, the district said it was notified that a second grader who attended Sixes Elementary tested positive for the coronavirus, noting that the child didn't start feeling sick until after the school day was over and that's when the parents sought a COVID-19 test.
Images that were posted – and then deleted – from that school's and district's social media accounts showed students close together with some not wearing masks.
Then, on Wednesday evening, the district confirmed more students tested positive for the virus at other schools. A teacher also showed symptoms of COVID-19 triggering a classroom quarantine.
Trowbridge said while the worry is there, the good - for her family - outweighs the bad. And every family needs to choose what's best for them.
"It's okay to do what you feel is right for your family. We are all in this together, and we want what's best for our families," she said.
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