The Rome City school system is going virtual across the board starting Wednesday, primarily because of staffing difficulties.
“The critical point came when we realized we might not be able to staff the classrooms,” Superintendent Lou Byars said.
All schools in the system will be going to virtual education, with a prospective return date of Nov. 6.
There have been additional positive cases of COVID-19 and the resulting quarantine of approximately 600 students, faculty and teachers. That number of quarantines — especially in the staff — led Byars to make the decision to close the school buildings.
The return to in-person learning will be subject to the number of cases.
“The number of new cases in the community is rising,” Byars said. “It’s become difficult to adequately staff classrooms.”
Students received Wednesday’s assignments to complete from home before leaving school on Tuesday. Teachers will host live sessions beginning on Thursday.
Teachers have been given the option to teach virtually from their classrooms or from their home.
“If they have children, we’re encouraging them to teach from home,” Byars said.
Byars said they were expecting to issue computers Tuesday to the last of the students who didn’t have a Chromebook — mainly in kindergarten classes.
“RCS is diligently working on distributing these devices to students and will be providing updates regarding internet access as soon as the information is available,” a message to parents read.
In the meantime, the school system is in the process of sanitizing any affected areas.
Nov. 2 was already scheduled as a flexible learning day and all scheduled parent-teacher conferences will be virtual.
“We plan to continue with all extracurricular activities, and the system will provide transportation each day for those students who need it,” the message read. Any questions concerning practices or event details should be directed to the athletic department.
The school system will also have the Virtual Online Live Tutoring program designed to offer students educational resources and support.
The school system also sent home three days worth of meals with students Tuesday. Meals for next week will be available for pickup on Friday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Floyd County cases trend upward
New COVID-19 cases in Floyd County have continued an upward trend, following the state and nation.
For a short time, Floyd County fell off a Department of Public Health list of high transmission areas — but it, alongside most of Northwest Georgia, is back on as of Tuesday’s report.
The state also reported the seven-day average of new cases in Georgia, from Oct. 20 to 26, increased by 15%. Daily hospitalizations for COVID-19 increased 7%, from 1,314 on Oct. 20 to 1,405 on Oct. 26.
Floyd County reported 450 cases in the past two weeks, leading counties across Northwest Georgia in new COVID-19 infections. However, Gordon County has a higher testing percentage rate and higher new case rate when adjusted for population.