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Home Schools The Week with Dr. Lisa Herring – Week of January 5

The Week with Dr. Lisa Herring – Week of January 5

by Dr. Lisa Herring

Good day, Atlanta Public Schools!

I’m Dr. Lisa Herring, Superintendent. Welcome back to “The Week,” where we provide you with a video summary of the news and information you need most from Atlanta Public Schools.

Let’s start with Happy New Year and Welcome Back!

We are so happy to see our young scholars and teachers back in school virtually. A new year certainly brings new challenges, but it also brings new opportunities, a new spirit … a new enthusiasm. We are definitely looking forward to the near future when we will begin seeing many of them face-to-face!

In the interim, please know that this administration is keenly aware of the balance of concern and focus for safety, wellness and well-being for our complete APS family. We have started out this calendar year in our continued virtual state. I want to be clear that we are monitoring daily the level of community spread and the expanded needed for consideration of all factors that lead to a safe return to manage for face to face learning options.  This week brings us to the close of our first few days back. Currently, we still plan to move towards a late January reopening. As we monitor each day and plan accordingly, our administration will maintain ongoing efforts of communication.

As a reminder, the  next phase of Return+Learn includes three instructional delivery models:

  • Site-Based Virtual Learning
  • Face-to-Face or In-Person Instruction
  • Atlanta Virtual Academy

As part of that schedule, we will have district office staff return to in-person work next Monday on staggered schedules, while school-based staff only are still scheduled to return on Tuesday, January 19, for a four-day schedule.

On Monday, January 25, we begin phasing in our PreK-2 and Special Education low incidence students from all grades who wish to return now for in-person instruction. On Monday, February 1, students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 10 will return. On Thursday, February 4, students in grades 7, 8, 11, and 12 return.

December provided a final window for families to identify their declaration of intent for each child. Thank you for your completion of the Intent to Return Declaration. As a reminder, if you did not complete the form, you automatically defaulted to a continuation of virtual learning.

Schools have been working to utilize the data from the Intent to Return form to determine any need to finalize instructional models and teacher assignments. As we continue to plan, please note the following reminders of what to expect with face to face learning:

  • Everyone will be required to wear a mask for the duration of the school day
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be available in each classroom, and
  • Desks and chairs will be arranged to support social distancing recommendations

More district-wide safety measures can be found at

As we near the date when students return for face-to-face learning, I want to remind you of the current student health screening protocols. If you made the decision that your child will return for in-person learning, you are encouraged to get into the habit of screening your student for health symptoms daily. For the safety of your child and others, please consider the following as an indication of when you should keep your child at home:

  • Has your child shown symptoms of a fever, such as chill, sweats, or an elevated temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher?
  • Has your child taken fever-reducing medication within the past 24 hours?
  • Has your child experienced a new cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, or nausea?

If so, our Department of Health Services advises that you keep your child at home and immediately contact your health care provider. Steps such as these will enable us to move forward more quickly to having more students back in our schools.

As usual, I ask that you continue to stay engaged, regularly visit, and keep connected with Atlanta Public Schools and your home school for ongoing updates.

That’s “The Week” for this week! Please Be Safe and Be Well!

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