Rome City Schools plans to return to in-person classes on Monday after spending two weeks in virtual classes as a response to increased COVID-19 quarantines in staff.

According to RCS Superintendent Lou Byars, they had originally started the quarantine due to the large number of coronavirus cases among faculty and students. At that time, there were about 600 cases in the school system.

Byars reported Thursday morning that there were around 270 positive cases still in quarantine. He hopes the number will go down even more before Monday.

Over the last two weeks, they’ve been doing deep cleaning at all of the facilities, making sure everything is sanitized and ready for the return of students and teachers.

The school system will continue following their COVID-19 guidelines and procedures after the return, including mandatory mask-wearing and limiting contact between students as much as possible.

However, the superintendent is worried about a possible uptick in cases as Thanksgiving break approaches.

Over the next several weeks, Byars and the school board will begin talking to parents and families about the importance of continuing to social distance and limiting contact with people over the holidays.

“The virus is not gone yet,” he said. “We need to communicate with people to be aware of this and to be safe during the holidays.”

The school system will have two weeks before they leave for the week-long Thanksgiving break and Byars cautions people to not gather in large groups for the holidays and if they do, they should wear a mask.

“We really want to keep the numbers down,” he said. “We don’t know how it will impact the number of cases.”

The superintendent said it’s something they want to communicate to the entire community and not just the school system.

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