TROUP COUNTY, Ga. (WRBL) – Troup County School System officials have announced students will return to in-person learning Tuesday, Jan. 4, despite a recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

“While there is a rise in COVID-19 cases in Troup County, we are committed to a return to in-person education,” said Troup County Schools Superintendent Brian Shumate in a statement released Dec. 30.

Shumate said schools have a fully-virtual backup plan in place if needed. He added school district officials will continue to monitor the local rise in cases and release new information as needed.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, there have been 851 positive cases of COVID-19 in Troup County in the last two weeks. The county also currently has 1,209 cases per 100,000 residents, which tops the state average of 917 cases per 100,000 residents.

The school district is still operating on a mask-optional model, but district officials highly recommend face coverings for staff and students. If students test positive for COVID-19 or come into a direct contact with a positive case, parents are asked to inform their school as soon as possible.

Troup County schools will also follow newly-implemented Centers for Disease Control guidelines for isolation after a positive test result. On Dec. 27, the CDC shortened the recommended isolation period for people with asymptomatic COVID-19 cases from ten days to five days, followed by five days of mask-wearing. The same guidelines apply to unvaccinated individuals who come into direct contact with a positive COVID-19 case.