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What Hall, Gainesville schools are planning for reopening after winter break
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Gainesville High School students walk to the school entrance Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, on the first day of in-person classes for Gainesville City Schools. - photo by Scott Rogers

Hall County and Gainesville City Schools are still on track to open as planned following winter break, according to district officials.

Stan Lewis, Hall’s community relations director, said as of Wednesday, Dec. 30, the system intends to start the spring semester with a hybrid A/B schedule from Jan. 5-8 for students taking classes in person.

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

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Lewis said district leadership will meet the weekend before schools open to review staffing. 

“As of now, we feel we are in a good spot,” he said.

After assessing the schools and conferring with principals, Lewis said parents will be updated over the weekend regarding any move to at-home learning. He said this would include the schools that made the shift before winter break. 

Gainesville Superintendent Jeremy Williams said all Gainesville district students are still set to begin the semester Wednesday, Jan. 6, and system officials will “continue to monitor the cases and exposures” with students and staff.

Tuesday, Jan. 5, will be used for those returning from remote to face-to-face instruction to have the chance to meet their teachers before diving into in-person learning.

“There are no major challenges with classroom or department coverage, but the load on the health system is a concern for us, including the impact from surrounding communities,” Williams said. Northeast Georgia Health System has hit records in recent days for the number of COVID-19 patients being treated in its facilities, with just under 300 recorded Dec. 31.

Williams noted that the new reports of COVID-19 cases and exposures among students and staff — which will come in at the beginning of the semester — will have resulted from transmission outside of school, since the system’s last on-campus day was Dec. 18.

 “We encourage our families to continue notifying us and keep their children home if they have symptoms, been exposed or tested positive,” Williams said. “There are a couple of alternate scenarios being considered, which if implemented, would be communicated early next week.”