GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Gwinnett County Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks announced the reversal on Monday saying that while the district believes there is no replacement for face-to-face instruction, they are reversing their decision to offer in-person construction as a precautionary measure.
"However, out of an abundance of concern for our students, families, and employees, we made a very difficult decision based on the increasing number of COVID-19 cases we are seeing in our county, as well as the concerns that have been expressed by our teachers, parents, and others in the community,” said Superintendent Wilbanks.
During the meeting last week, District 4 member Everton Blair was the only one against in-person instruction. While video and audio were still recording the meeting, BOE Chairman Louise Radloff could be heard saying a sentence that included "strangle him."
Blair immediately took to social media posting that incident overshadowed critical business about the decision on whether to re-open schools and ignored the "permanent stain of lynching in Gwinnett County".
Following the district's reversal decision, Blair issued the following statement:
"Now we must focus on meeting the needs of all of our students, inclusive of our early learners, special education students, English learners and students in other severe circumstances. I look forward to revisiting this decision at every monthly board meeting with the most up-to-date public health and student academic data."
Fellow board member, Mary Kay Murphy switched her stance on the topic after the district came forward with the reversal, releasing the following response:
"As a mother, grandmother, and former Georgia public school teacher, I agree wholeheartedly with the American Academy of Pediatrics that learning in-person is by far the best choice for children whenever possible. But my support for reopening schools was with the clear condition that the health conditions in the county must allow it as the school year approached."
The Gwinnett School district now joins the following districts in only offering virtual learning:
- Atlanta Public Schools
- Clayton County Schools
- Cobb County Schools
- Decatur City Schools
- Dekalb County Schools
- Douglas County Schools
- Fayette County Schools
- Fulton County Schools
- Henry County Schools
- Marietta City Schools
- Rockdale County Schools
Forsyth County Schools said that they are still preparing for the potential reopening of in-person instruction with additional COVID-19 related guidelines.
The Forsyth County School District is having its BOE meeting tomorrow and their communications director said that they will provide updated information to parents on Wednesday morning.
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