Just 24 hours after announcing it would resume in-person learning on Jan. 4, Atlanta Public Schools announced Saturday afternoon that it would begin the new semester virtually due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

In a press release, APS said “due to the rapid rise in positive cases in the metro Atlanta area, students will begin virtual  classes Tuesday, Jan. 4 through Friday, Jan. 7. Our current plan is to resume in-person  instruction on Monday, Jan. 10. 

Employees are still expected to report on Monday, Jan. 3, for a development workday and for mandatory COVID surveillance testing.

APS students who need to pick up their virtual learning devices may do so at their school on Monday and Tuesday. Details will be provided by schools. All APS athletic and extracurricular activities have been suspended for the virtual week.

APS will host COVID-19 vaccination events for eligible students ages 5 and older, families, and staff on Saturday, Jan. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The drive-up vaccine events will be held at Sutton Middle School, Long Middle School, Maynard Jackson High School, and Mays High School.

First shots, second shots, and boosters will be offered. All vaccine brands will be available. Register at http://tinyurl.com/apsvax

Fulton County Schools announced Friday afternoon that students would begin the semester online Jan. 4, but planned to resume in-person learning on Jan. 10 with masks required for students and staff.

DeKalb County Schools reversed course on Friday after announcing it would resume in-person learning. The district is now following Fulton County’s lead, starting the semester virtually on Jan. 5 and resuming in-person learning on Jan. 10.

City Schools of Decatur will resume in-person learning on Jan. 4, according to a report in Decaturish.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.