ALPHARETTA, Ga. — The Fulton County School System will open the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 17 the same way it ended last year — with students learning from home in a virtual setting.

Fulton Superintendent Mike Looney made the announcement Thursday morning, saying the increased spike in COVID-19 cases made it impossible to safely open school buildings to staff and students.

“We are in very unusual, trying times and have been doing everything possible to resume school in a safe manner,” Looney said. “But it is my intent on Aug. 17 that Fulton will begin school on schedule, but will do so in a universal, remote learning environment.”

He said the decision was influenced by reports from athletic conditioning, which resumed on a limited basis in June. Despite restrictions of fielding groups of 20 people at a time, Looney said the number of COVID cases among athletes and staff are rising.

Candy Waylock is an award winning education reporter who has covered all things education for Appen Media over the past 20 years. She is an Alpharetta resident.

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