ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Nearly 2,000 participants tuned in to a school board meeting to find out what the next step is in the reopening plan for Atlanta Public Schools.

The plan, which is contingent upon data of Coronavirus' spread from the Georgia Department of Public Health, is centered around parents having the final say so.

“For every voice or family that has suggested a desire to return, there’s a voice and family loud and clear that has suggested a desire to remain virtual,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring.

The district initially offered a face-to-face option for kindergarten through second grade. But district officials were quickly met with backlash from parents with students in grades 3 and higher.

“It was very disappointing and its lack of detail, it was very disappointing. We felt like it wasn’t taking big enough steps,” said APS parent David Hayes, a main voice in the coalition for parent, teacher and staff school choice.

As a result, APS opted to expand the parameters of the reopening plan to now offer a face-to-face learning option for 3-5 grade. District officials hope to eventually welcome all students back to the classroom. 

“We have worked to provide appropriate choice overtime for all families regardless of positions,” explained Dr. Herring. Beginning October 26, the school board is proposing a move to phase 2 of its Return + Learn Re-opening Plan:

OPTION ONE: is virtual learning based. Students will continue learning at home from a teacher at the specific school their enrolled in. This option makes it easy for students to transfer back to face-to-face learning eventually.

OPTION TWO: is traditional face to face learning...with coronavirus protections in place. It's now an option for k-through 5 graders.

OPTION THREE:  is strictly virtual learning through the Atlanta Virtual Academy. This is for families who can commit to virtual learning for the entire semester.

“We’re excited that we now have the choice to go back to school, we’re thankful to Dr. Herring for hearing us,” said Hayes.

The district is still requesting parents/guardians to complete an “intent to return declaration” by October 12 to provide feedback as part of the district’s process for a phased return to in-person instruction. To complete the declaration, click here.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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