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'Best thing for the safety of our learners': Dublin City Schools plans two-week virtual return

Superintendent Fred Williams says the rising cases in Laurens County prompted the school board to have students return from winter break virtually

DUBLIN, Ga. — With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Laurens County, students in Dublin City Schools will return from Christmas break remotely.

Natalie Wright is a mother of three students enrolled in the school district. She has a junior, freshman and third grader.

She sent her first grader back to in-person learning for the first semester because she felt face-to-face instruction was important for fundamental skills.

“So far it was okay, but then as the numbers started increasing in the school system, I became a little nervous,” said Wright. “The decision to return virtual was definitely the best thing that the school could've done.”

Superintendent Fred Williams announced Monday that the board decided to have students work from home from Jan. 5-20, 2021.

"Our health district is still behind on contact tracing as well as the whole state of Georgia, and so we have not really chronicled all the effects of Thanksgiving and we know that we have the Christmas holiday and New Year's," said Williams. "Even the governor just came out talking about the gatherings and so we are agile and nimble enough based on capacity to go virtual on any given day, and we knew that was the best thing for the safety and well-being of our learners."

The school system is planning to offer a return to in-person instruction by January 20. Parents need to fill out the online survey for their desired learning option.

“When the kids return on the 20th, they'll be able to go to whatever learning environment that the parents choose. We feel that's been one of the best things we had to offer,” said Williams.

Until then, Wright says people need to do their part – especially over the New Year’s holiday – to keep from spreading the virus.

“It's our job to help the schools as well and I feel like until the community can get on the same accord with the school system and follow the guidelines by the CDC, then I think this is what we will be facing,” she said.

Williams is confident in the progress they've made with virtual learning. They provided extra training for teachers during the first semester, so they expect the start to the second will be much smoother.

Parents can find the link to that learning option survey here.

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