As a precautionary measure against an increase in COVID-19 cases, Athens City Schools officials have decided to close Athens City Middle School through Friday, Nov. 27.

Virtual learning will still take place during that time, according to officials.

Assistant Director of Schools Melody Armstrong noted that there have been 12 positive cases and roughly 100 sent home to quarantine in the three grade levels at ACMS and that encouraged the decision to go virtual.

“We wanted to get ahead of it,” Armstrong said. “By transitioning to virtual school, we could get ahead of it.”

The elementary schools will remain open and there have been three cases in that Pre-K through fifth grade range.

Armstrong also noted that system-wide attendance stands at 95.4%.

“We are really doing well,” Armstrong said, adding that she is “really pleased” with how school officials, students and parents are following guidelines.

Cases have been rising across the country, as well as in the local area, and Armstrong said that “plays a part” in the decision.

She said when the decision was made, there were 324 active cases in McMinn County, which the system’s metric considers as medium spread. However, 176 of those cases are in long term care facilities, she noted, meaning that there are 148 total in the rest of the community and that is low enough to keep schools open.

Armstrong said system officials are confident in the instruction ACMS students receive as they temporarily transition to virtual schooling.

“We’re well prepared. We spent the summer training the teachers. Trey Ivins did well (instructing them),” she explained. “The kids are comfortable. The students will receive high quality instruction with the transition.”

Email: dewey.morgan

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