Chaos reigns in some schools with in-person learning. Hundreds of kids are learning at home.
CLOSE The coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we knew it, including how students learn. USA TODAYIn the early days of August, the Columbia County School District outside Augusta, Georgia, was determined to open its schools.Despite a regional surge of COVID-19 cases early that month, the system of 28,000 students was among the first districts in America to put people back in classrooms, on Aug. 3.The reason was pretty straightforward, said Superintendent Sandra Carraway: The vast majority of Columbia County parents said they wanted schools open. Waiting wasn’t going to make anything better, she added, and the district offered a learn-from-home option as an alternative.”We’re doing very well,” Carraway said at the end of the third week of classes. Many teachers disagree. Forty-six students and 28 staff have tested positive for the virus, and 542 people have had to quarantine since school started, according to district figures as of Aug. 21. Teachers are trying to juggle students who come to school, those who opted for virtual learning, and those lost in the middle because of quarantine or because their parents switched them from in-person to virtual as outbreaks sprang up. CLOSE As schools debate about returning to online learning, the lack of internet access for many Americans is a big sticking point. USA TODAYIn-person school reopenings have been pushed by