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Clock ticking for parents to make decision to send kids back to school or stick with online learning

Most families are required to make their decision within the next two weeks.

ATLANTA — The clock is ticking down for parents to decide whether to send kids back to the classroom this coming school year -- or do virtual learning.

Many districts are asking families to decide in the next two weeks whether they want to send kids back to school full time or do virtual learning.

With COVID-19 cases surging in Georgia, parents tell Kaitlyn Ross – this isn’t an easy decision to stick with.

When we first started hearing from school districts about their back to school plans, many included a hybrid option, where kids could go to class part time and learn from home part time.

RELATED: Students start petitions to demand districts require mask wearing during school

Many of the largest school districts in Georgia have decided that's just not feasible, and parents will have to commit to one or the other soon.

"If we commit ourselves to going on campus, and cases are surging right now, and it becomes even worse than it is today and we say no, we can't, we need to do digital, they won't let us change out mind," DeAnna Spurlin, a parent of a Gwinnett student said.

She and her husband, David Raney, are concerned.

In the latest data available, the county has had nearly 8,000 cases and 170 deaths.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Georgia | Latest numbers for June 30

School-aged young people make up about 20% of those positive cases.

The parents feel uneasy sending their high school senior back to campus with that many cases of COVID-19.

"They're not including a lot of details in this letter they sent out, it's all very vague, they want us to make a decision by July 10," David said. 

That decision would be binding.

According to an email sent out by Gwinnett County Public Schools, families wouldn't be able to change their minds after they commit to going to campus or going virtual for nine weeks.

RELATED: Here are school districts' plans for back to school in the fall

Fulton County families are on the clock as well - their plan to either return full time or learn from home full time just came out yesterday.

Rising senior Madison Cochran says she's struggling with the decision.

"I'm very worried about going back to school with the coronavirus outbreak. If I wasn't going to be a senior this year, I wouldn't be going at all," she said. 

Cochran says she's talking with her parents about how to protect herself and her family if she does choose to go back to campus. She said that's what most students want to do - be with their friends - but only if it's safe.

"We are okay with being on campus If people wear the mask and they social distance. If they don't, then it's not feasible, not a feasible option," Cochran said. 

We tried to get the school districts to answer specific questions for parents and students about how they came to these decisions, but they all told us they're slammed trying to talk to families and figure out logistics before the holiday weekend. 

With just a month after that decision deadline to put all of these plans in to action.

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