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Gainesville City Schools to release weekly report on COVID-19 numbers
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Gainesville Exploration Academy teachers Brittany Collins, right, and Cynthia Syfan move desks apart Wednesday, July 29, 2020, for COVID-19 safety precautions as teacher prepare for the upcoming school year. - photo by Scott Rogers

Parents of Gainesville City School System students will be able to track cases of COVID-19 in the system during the school year, thanks to weekly reports the school district plans to release.  

According to Superintendent Jeremy Williams, reports will start coming out as soon as students return to Gainesville schools in early September, though the school system has not yet decided a date for the first report or exactly what information will be included in each report.

The superintendent said the reports are intended to give students, parents and school staff as much information as possible to decide whether they feel safe coming to a Gainesville City school building on a given day.  

“Let’s say we’ve got a handful of cases and a parent doesn’t feel comfortable sending their kid to school until those numbers go down,” he said. “Then that’s that parent’s choice. And we want to be able to provide them that information.” 

Simarlary, the Hall County School District has also begun reporting absences caused by COVID-19.

Williams said the weekly reports will likely not break down cases on a school-by-school basis, mainly to cut down on rumor mongering regarding who may or may not be infected.  

He said the reports will focus primarily on new cases on a weekly basis, so parents can stay as up to date as possible on transmission happening inside schools.  

“Our top concern is keeping true to the message of just because a case is reported by the school system, does not mean that it was transmitted in the school system,” Williams said. “So our reporting that we’re looking at doing is likely going to focus predominantly on new COVID cases.” 

Williams said school system officials would be meeting this Thursday to discuss the specific information to be included in the weekly reports. The school system will release that information next week in its final update before the full return to in-person schooling.  

“We’re just trying to figure out what is the most pertinent information that our community wants to know while striking a balance between a safe return and being transparent with the information,” he said. 

Gainesville City schools will start the return to face-to-face instruction with a phased-in approach starting on Tuesday, Sept. 8. 

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