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Gov. Brian Kemp closes schools through April 24
Midway First Day 7 080219 web
Midway Elementary School welcomed students and families for the first day of the 2019-20 school year on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. - photo by Brian Paglia

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Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order Thursday, March 26 to close public elementary and secondary schools for in-person instruction through April 24 in the state’s continued effort to address the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Under the new order, Forsyth County’s 50,000 public school students, who have been learning online since March 16, would return to school on Monday, April 27.

The University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia will remain closed for in-person instruction through the rest of the semester.

"I am deeply grateful to State School Superintendent Richard Woods, the Georgia Department of Education, superintendents, and parents for keeping us informed and helping us make the right decision for our students,” Kemp said in a statement. “Throughout this process, we will continue to seek the advice of public health officials, school leaders, and families to ensure the health and safety of the educational community. As we approach April 24, 2020, we ask for continued patience and flexibility since circumstances may change, but we encourage families to stay strong and follow the guidance of federal, state, and local leaders in the weeks ahead."

In conjunction with Kemp’s announcement, the Forsyth County Schools district said it will continue its online learning, which started March 16. All schools and facilities will continue to be closed to “non-essential employees” and the public. School-related activities, events and athletics are also canceled until school reopens.

In addition, the school district’s student meal drive-thru and delivery services will extend through April 24, except the week of spring break from April 6-10.

The school district said it will release more details before April 27.

"While we are anxious to return to our normal routines, especially for our senior class, we encourage all members of our FCS family to continue to be flexible and patient for the safety of our students and staff,” the district said in a statement. “We appreciate your continued support."

Forsyth County Schools initially closed schools and canceled all school-related activities through March 23 until Kemp announced on March 16 that public primary, secondary and post-secondary schools would remain closed through March 31. 

Forsyth County Schools followed by extending its closure through April 3 and into spring break. The school district had planned to return to its normal operating schedule on Monday, April 13.

The moving timeline has been in response to the increase of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in Georgia. By noon Thursday, Georgia had more than 1,500 confirmed cases with 15 in Forsyth County, including one local death from the disease.