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Polk County Schools close abruptly, switch to 4-day school week because of COVID-19

The district wrote changing mandates for quarantining school-aged children make planning for a typical school year impossible.

POLK COUNTY, Ga. — The entire Polk County School District shut down abruptly last week - telling families they would be closed all this week to try and figure out how to accommodate COVID-19 guidelines and quarantine standards set out by the department of public health. 

Now, they're making big changes.

The district announced it will designate every Monday as a teacher work day, and all students get the day off from school. Their new model will have in-person and virtual instruction as a four-day week only.

The plan was outlined in a letter sent home to parents last Friday when the district told them it would have to close.

The letter blamed changing guidelines about quarantining school-aged children for the sudden closure.

11Alive contacted the school district multiple times to get clarity on what that meant, and how closing for a week would solve it, but they did not return any of our calls our emails.

What we do know is there are multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 in that school district. The county's department of health did not have a number, but told 11Alive there is wide community spread of the virus.

Our own numbers show the positivity rate in the county is still high - sitting at 16.3%. The state health department has recommended keeping schools closed until that number is lower than 5%.

The reaction to the school district closing and their new four-day policy was mixed online. 

Crystal wrote that the shift to four days a week will be difficult for a working parent, and she's worried how her child will adjust. 

The district responded that state mandates have made it impossible to plan for the school year and the situation is out of their control. 

But not everyone was angry about the shift - Judy wrote in to thank the district for prioritizing the health and safety of the children. 

School will be back in session for Polk County kids Tuesday, Aug. 25. 

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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