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Hall schools making big changes for this week, start of next semester
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Lyman Hall Elementary School students are led to their bus by teachers Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, at the end of the first day of school for the 2020-21 school year. - photo by Scott Rogers

All Hall County system middle and high school students taking classes in person will switch to at-home learning from Wednesday, Dec. 16, through Friday, Dec. 18, which is the last day before the winter break.

“We’ve got a significant number of staff members that are in quarantine or in isolation, and it’s becoming more difficult and challenging to deliver instruction at the middle and high school level,” Stan Lewis, Hall’s community relations director, said. “We’ll continue to monitor the elementary school numbers, and we’ll be in contact with those principals.” 

Gainesville City Schools announced on Tuesday that its students would move to remote instruction.

As of Monday, Dec. 14, Hall County's total absences resulting from positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff in the district’s 37 schools reached 190, according to Hall’s daily report. Almost 8% of students and 4% of staff were quarantined as of Monday. Students who are quarantined switch to blended learning on an individual basis.

On Tuesday, the district announced one of its elementary schools, Riverbend Elementary, would also move to remote instruction beginning Wednesday, Dec. 16, and remain that way for the final days of the semester. On Thursday, Hall schools said Sardis Elementary School would move online on Friday. Prior to the high and middle school closures, as well as the two elementary school announcements, five schools had already switched to blended learning: Cherokee Bluff middle and high schools, Chestatee High School, C.W. Davis Middle School and East Hall High School. 

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On Monday, Hall Superintendent Will Schofield reminded everyone during the Board of Education meeting of the two reasons for shifting to at-home learning. 

“No. 1, if we thought we had significant spread in our schools, or if we got to a point where we did not believe we had enough adults to effectively hold school,” Schofield said. “We’re seeing a little bit of the spread in our schools, and we’re seeing a lot of schools struggling with enough adults.”

The spring semester will start with a hybrid A/B schedule from Jan. 5-8 for students taking classes in person, similar to how the system started the school year.

In-person learning students with last names beginning with L through Z will attend school Jan. 5 and Jan. 7, and those with last names beginning with A through K will attend Jan. 6 and Jan. 8.

“We’ve got approximately 3,000 students that are coming back that have not been in person,” Lewis said. “We’ve got to get these new students who have not been in the building to understand the protocols and understand the reasons behind it.”

Some changes were also made to attendance permitted at school athletic events.

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