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Hall County Schools to start semester virtually

Hall County Schools students will start their semester from home, the school district announced on Sunday. The first day of school for students is set for Tuesday, Jan. 5.

The school system’s announcement, which said students would work from home for the first week of the semester, included a link to a video update from Hall Superintendent Will Schofield. 

“The reason that I’m coming to you on a Sunday, is that we have been carefully monitoring the situation here in Hall County and internally with our own people over the Christmas holidays,” Schofield said in the video. “And, if you have watched the news at all, especially the local news, you understand that we’ve had an alarming increase in the number of COVID cases and the rate of community spread here in Hall County.”

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By the end of Monday, the system had 47 staff absences resulting from positive COVID-19 cases. The data can be viewed on Hall’s website. Confirmed student COVID-19 cases have yet to be added to the online report.

“I am convinced that much like what we saw after Thanksgiving, that the cases that we’ve seen, although they are impressive in number, are probably going to be significantly underreported,” Schofield stated. “Therefore, at this time, your board and I are announcing that for this first week of school … Everybody will learn from home for this first week. We are in no position to add to the hospital numbers which are already overwhelming.”

The system plans to offer an update by Thursday, Jan. 7, regarding its plans leading to Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Gainesville City School District announced Monday that it, too, would begin the spring semester online. The first two weeks of school will be hosted virtually, district officials said. Gainesville's first day of school is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 6.

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