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As parents fret, kids return to CSRA schools during virus spike



AUGUSTA, Ga. – Despite the rising number of COVID cases in the CSRA, several school districts went ahead with their plans to bring students back to the classroom.

It’s leaving some parents feeling hopeless when their kids walk out the door for school.

“It’s a pain in my chest,” Columbia County parent Denise Bailey said. “It’s a pain in my chest of are they going to be okay?”

Bailey has two kids in the Columbia County School System and says no matter what precautions are in place, her kids are still at risk.

“I can take every precaution in the world. I can buy them as many masks as possible. I can invest in Clorox wipes and disinfectant, and I can do everything right, and they’re at the mercy of others who won’t or don’t,” Bailey said.

Starting Tuesday, Columbia County will welcome back 87 percent of its students to the classroom.

At the Columbia County Board of Education building, every staff member is making sure every student is kept safe. They say they still have the same precautions in place like mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing. But Bailey says it’s still not safe enough with that many kids coming back.

“But now we’re talking about coming back into a high school with 2,500 kids in it every day with what I see as recklessness,” Bailey said.

Over in Aiken County, schools started on a hybrid model Monday. School officials say they will stay on this model until Jan. 15 where they will evaluate how it’s going.

In Richmond County, schools will resume classes Jan. 11 and stick to the guidelines they had before winter break.

As for teachers receiving the vaccine, both Columbia and Aiken counties say that’s up to local health officials and no plans have been made quite yet.