Home / US / Cobb delays the start of the 2020-21 school year by two weeks

Cobb delays the start of the 2020-21 school year by two weeks

Cobb County School District students will return to class two weeks later than planned.

The members of the Cobb school council postponed the start date for 2020-21 to August 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday. The original start date was August 3.

Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said the delay will give the district enough time to share information with families so they can make the best decision for their children. Ragsdale said that no further calendar changes will be made, so the one-week breaks set for September and February 2021 will remain. The pre-planning dates for teachers do not change, and those employees who normally start the year on August 3rd will resume work on that day.

“There are a number of things that are fundamentally out of our control that result in us having a much shorter window than is required to properly prepare for school,”

; said Ragsdale.

The district has also postponed the time that parents have to decide whether to allow their children to attend traditional school or continue using the virtual learning option. The original window for parents to register their choice was July 2nd through July 10th. A new date has not been set.

READ | Cobb BOE approves a $ 48 million Pebblebrook High School project

Ragsdale said the district would continue to offer parents virtual or personal learning options, and they would have to commit to one method for one semester. Parents who choose an option for the first semester can switch to the other for the following semester, Ragsdale said.

The district does not require students returning to class to wear masks, but Ragsdale said they are “absolutely expected and highly recommended”. The Cobb schools are still working to determine whether students who opt for the virtual option are allowed to participate in on-site extracurricular options, Ragsdale said.


The district will also not hire any additional staff as the fiscal year has a $ 62 million budget shortage. Ragsdale stressed that any decision by the district could change due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

Cobb County is the second district on the Atlanta Metro that is delaying the start of the school year. Fulton County School Council members unanimously approved Monday to postpone the system’s start date from August 10th to 17th to give employees more time to prepare for the pandemic. Cobb board members made their unanimous decision on Thursday during a convened meeting.

READ | The Cobb school board prevented a solution to racism

Cobb’s decision comes days after three petitions were issued asking the district to address concerns about school reopening during the pandemic, require students to wear masks or facewear, and provide more information about the reopening plan.

School councils Jaha Howard, Charisse Davis and Brad Wheeler asked the superintendent about the students’ access to digital learning devices. The Cobb Schools Foundation coordinated a campaign to provide laptops and other items for less fortunate students to learn from home. The initiative prioritized schoolchildren and middle school students so some elementary school students were given no equipment, Howard said.

Ragsdale said the district does not have an infinite number of laptops, but the system will identify students and families who need these resources.

Howard also said that a two-week shift in the start date will give teachers and staff more time to adjust to the new needs of child rearing during a pandemic. He also hopes the district will consider improving communication with parents.

“I think we have some space to deal with our information more directly and clearly so that we can get parents to commit to this semester-long decision and sit in the boat with us,” he said.