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Gwinnett Schools announce staggered plan to bring students back to campuses

On July 20, the district announced they'd start the school year virtually, upsetting many parents who wanted in-person learning.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Gwinnett County Public Schools superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks announced Tuesday a staggered transition to bring students back to campuses.

The transition will include a blend of in-person and digital learning for students, based on parents' choices, bringing in a limited number of grade levels at first, then adding more grades on a staggered basis.

This comes days after it was announced that nearly 260 Gwinnett Schools employees were "excluded from work" due to confirmed COVID-19 cases or exposure to the virus. 

Several parents were outraged when the district announced last month it would start the school year virtually, even protesting at their headquarters. 

"Our hope is that shortly after the school year starts, we can begin to honor the choices parents made in July for either in-person or digital instruction for their children," Wilbanks wrote in a letter.

The district released a "best-case scenario" chart for the transition. 

"Adjustments to the dates and the grade levels listed may be necessary based on the still-fluid COVID-19 situation in Gwinnett County," Wilbanks said. "Regardless of the timeline, we will monitor the local conditions on a regular basis, and with guidance from our health partners, will either slow down the return to school or continue with the plan accordingly."

On Aug. 12, all students will be digital. 

On Aug. 26, kindergarten, first grade, sixth grade, ninth grade and all self-contained special education students will return to in-person instruction. 

On Sept. 2, kindergarten, first, second, third, sixth, seventh, ninth, tenth grade and all self-contained special education students will return to in-person instruction. 

On Sept. 9, all grades will transition to in-person instruction for those parents who have opted into that choice. 

They reminded parents that the dates above are subject to change.

"We understand that no plan will be universally popular with all stakeholders. But we are committed to doing what we believe is best for students in terms of their health, safety, and education," Wilbanks said.