Polk School District to return to virtual learning starting next week

From Polk Today:

The Polk School District will be returning to distance learning – with elementary students getting packets to take home, and middle and high school students utilizing virtual classrooms – due to a lack of substitute teachers available to take over classrooms for teachers under quarantine.

Superintendent Laurie Atkins was clear that this was not because of any increase of cases within the Polk School District at this time.

“It is not because we have high positive cases,” she said. “This is because of the number of staff that has been required to quarantine, and that has created difficulty in finding substitute teachers to cover those who are out.”

The news that the district will return for the final week of the term before the winter break – December 14 through December 18 – to virtual learning is only for that reason, and will not have any impact on end of semester grading for students or teachers. Elementary school students are being sent home with a packet that will be returned for grading on January 5, and students in middle and high school will be required to complete their assignments online, along with information about final exams.

The announcement made clear that teachers will still be reporting to work. Parents will also be able to come on December 14 to get meals on campuses thanks to the School Nutrition program, but they will not be available during the Christmas holidays.

Additionally, Atkins also said that it will not impact any athletic schedules – several of the teams that Cedartown and Rockmart faced in fall sports have been virtual learning only through their seasons – and the district will be taking the opportunity during the extended time out from in-person learning for deep cleaning of campuses.

She added that the district is being mindful and following the guidelines for indoor sports and how fans can participate, but are limiting crowd sizes at both schools for basketball this year as a measure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Like after the Thanksgiving holiday and fall break, the district is also asking students to ensure that they are wearing masks and taking precautions when they return to school in early January. Mask use is not a requirement within the PSD, but it is recommended to help keep students safe on campus and families at home when they return from school.