A Small Georgia City Plans to Put Students in Classrooms This Week

By: Alina Dang

This week, Jefferson, Georgia decided that students would be required to physically attend school starting this fall. Due to the highly contagious coronavirus, the plans shocked the residents. Their start date, July 31, is one of the earliest in the United States.

Jefferson is a city northeast of Atlanta and is the seat of Jackson County. According to an article in The New York Times, “ has had 13 coronavirus-related deaths, and an infection rate of 1,067 per 100,000 people.” In nearby Gwinnett County the infection rate is higher and 216 people have died. Georgia has seen an average of 3,287 new cases per day which is an increase of 42 percent from the average two weeks earlier.

Jefferson schools announced that they were making their starting day Friday. Other districts around the state have either delayed their back-to-school days or moved to online learning. Not only did they plan to hold face to face instruction, but they also only “strongly encourage” masks for students and teachers instead of making them mandatory.

Jennifer Fogle, a parent, was very anxious after being informed that Jefferson City Schools decided to offer in person education during the coronavirus pandemic. Ms. Fogle said, “I can’t fix it, so I have to learn, how do we live life as normal as possible and still try to protect ourselves?”

The coronavirus has been surging in the U.S.A since the middle of June and the possibility of more online courses in the fall will only grow. This is raising more concerns about the quality of education students are getting. Many are worried about the possible harm it may cause students both psychologically and socially, and the child-care problems that some working parents will have to face.

The reopening decisions have harshly divided Jefferson, offering a likely preview of the controversial debates ahead for many other districts whose school years start closer to the end of summer.

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