Atlanta Public School (APS) officials announced Saturday that they will operate virtually next week for all students and all staff.

This, after APS officials said they had reviewed district and community COVID-19 data. They did not elaborate.

“Due to the rapid rise in positive cases in the metro Atlanta area, students will begin virtual classes Tuesday, January 4 through Friday, January 7,” according to an APS press release.

APS officials plan to resume in-person instruction on Monday, January 10.

Here are more details of the district’s virtual plan for next week:

• All APS staff will report to their work location Monday, January 3 for mandatory COVID-19 surveillance testing, unless they are ill. School system officials will take the collected data and use it for future planning.

• Students who need to pick up virtual learning devices may do so at their school on Monday, January 3, and Tuesday, January 4.

• School system officials have suspended all athletics and extracurricular activities during this virtual school week.

Research recently revealed that remote learning led to declines in test scores in English and math when compared to the scores of schools that had more in-person learning. This, according to a paper that the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) published in November.

Leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic forced many schools to close in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, but many schools remained closed throughout the 2020-2021 school year. NBER’s research said remote learning had a negative impact on students’ test scores in English language arts (ELA) and math in 12 states studied.

Declines in scores were smaller for students who continued in-person learning. The research combined “district-level schooling mode data from the 2020-21 school year,” “district-level test score data from 2015 to 2021,” and “demographic data from the NCES,” according to the study.

Researchers collected the data among students in third to eighth grades in 12 states across the United States.: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.