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Marietta schools reopen with 1,002 students returning to classrooms

By Kristal Dixon, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga

Marietta City Schools on Tuesday began the first phase of its plan to transition back to in-person learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The system said 1,002 students in prekindergarten through second grade and special needs students opted to attend classes in-person two days a week. System spokeswoman Jen Brock said the district expects around 543 students to attend in-person classes Monday and Wednesday and 459 on Tuesday and Thursday.

Students in grades three through 12 will continue with remote learning. Superintendent Dr. Grant Rivera said he spent Tuesday visiting every elementary school in the system.

“I can’t tell who’s more excited: our kids or staff,” he said.

Marietta’s plan limits class sizes to no more than nine students to allow for social distancing. All students, staff and visitors are required to wear face masks while inside buildings, classrooms, and buses. The schools will also conduct daily temperature checks for everyone. The district has made exceptions to the mask rule for medical reasons, eating and drinking, outdoor activities and staff working in personal office spaces where social distancing can be maintained.

Rivera also said the district installed partitions on student desks, and staff on Tuesday served lunch to students while they were in the classroom or outside. Schools have large tents where students can eat their meals if there is inclement weather.

The district received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide meals at no cost to all children 18 and under. Students attending in-person classes Monday and Wednesday will eat at school on those days and have their meals sent home on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. For in-person students on a Tuesday/Thursday schedule, they will eat at school on those days and have their meals sent home Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Marietta City Schools will switch to a meal kit format for students who are enrolled in remote learning. Starting Friday, students will be given a week’s worth of meal kits. Students must order their kits so the school system knows how much food to prepare and load on its buses for delivery. Orders must be submitted by noon Wednesday each week to ensure they are delivered Friday. Parents can make their pre-orders on MyPaymentPlus.

Parents can email nutrition@marietta-city.org or visit the district’s website for more information.

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