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Fulton County schools reopen despite push-back from some teachers


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    ATLANTA, GA (WGCL) — It’s been a month since children whose families chose the in-person option were back in the classroom at Heards Ferry Elementary School in Sandy Springs.

Fifth-grade student Mamie Bowen said she’s happy she gets to see her friends again. Her little brother Jack was excited for a different reason.

“I always have distractions at my house,” he said.

Their mom Nicole was glad to have her children back in school, too.

“I have a long to-do list today,” she said with a laugh.

According to a school district spokeswoman, roughly 52 percent of Fulton County students are returning in-person for the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year.

Some teachers, however, are anxious about returning at a time when COVID-19 hospitalizations in Georgia are nearly twice as high as they were over the summer. One group started an online petition to try to get Fulton’s reopening delayed, saying some teachers are afraid for their lives.

For some metro-Atlanta educators, seeing fellow educators lose their battle with the disease makes them particularly anxious, despite some scientists noting that COVID-19 spread in schools appears to be merely a reflection of spread in the community.

“My thoughts go out to the teachers who are anxious to be back,” said Nicole Bowen. “I feel like we should be prioritizing them so that they can get the vaccine if they choose to.”

Fulton County’s reopening comes in a hybrid model with students staggering which days they’re in-person. Schools continue to stress COVID safety protocols.

City Schools of Decatur also reopened its elementary schools Tuesday. Atlanta Public Schools are scheduled to reopen in phases starting Jan. 25.

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