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Newton County Schools eyes tentative return to in-person instruction starting Feb. 8
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COVINGTON, Ga. — After consulting with the local health department, Newton County Schools recently announced its intention to restart in-person learning beginning Feb. 8.

Students have been limited to virtual instruction since Jan. 5 as the number of COVID-19 cases dramatically increased across Newton County over the district's winter break period.

“We know the remote learning environment has been a hardship for many families and we empathize and understand the frustration many of you feel at this time,” district officials stated in a Jan. 27 news release. “We want the students back in the building just as much as you do, as we know that in-person learning is, for most students, the most beneficial. Unfortunately, our community’s data just do not allow for the return to in-person instruction at this time. However, current data models predict an expected decrease in the rate of transmission within the next few weeks.”

Officials said if the projected decrease in cases over the next week holds true, all self-contained, special need students would be welcomed back for in-person instruction Monday, Feb. 8.

All other students currently enrolled for in-person learning, including those reentering for the second semester, would be welcomed back the following week, Feb. 16.

“We need your help to reduce the transmission of this virus in our community,” officials stated. “In order to implement our tentative return-to-school schedule, it is a must that residents in our community practice social distancing, wear a mask, and watch their distance. If you are sick or awaiting a COVID-19 test result, please stay home.”

While remote learning is in process, parents of regular in-person students may obtain free breakfast and lunch meals daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the nearest school, or pick up meals from one of the district’s designated bus stop delivery locations. More information can be found here.

The NCSS School Nutrition Department, in conjunction with the NCSS Transportation Department, will also deliver daily meals, including weekend meals on Fridays, to the following temporary bus delivery locations: Arbor Lake Apartments, Cedar Grove Community, Covington Estates, Five Oaks Subdivision, Jamestown, Long Branch Subdivision, Salem Springs, Twin Chimneys Subdivision, Wagon Train, and Wells Mobile Home Park. Delivery times may be found here.

In addition to daily meals, NCSS School Nutrition will also provide weekly meal boxes for pickup at the following school distribution sites: Live Oak Elementary, Heard-Mixon Elementary, West Newton Elementary, Middle Ridge Elementary, and Oak Hill Elementary. The NCSS Food Bus will also stop at select locations throughout the county to distribute weekly meals. More information may be found here.

Current virtual learning students may continue to obtain free meals at their regular bus stop drop off sites, officials said.