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MOCO Schools Deal with COVID

Toombs Soldiering on; VCS Ready to Start New Term

As of Monday night, Montgomery County Schools were dealing with 39 student quarantines because of COVID-19, Superintendent Hugh Kight said during the county’s board of education meeting in Mount Vernon. He added that the system also had six teachers and one bus driver who were in quarantine.

Over the weekend, Kight issued an advisory to parents asking them to keep third graders at home on Monday. On Saturday, one of the school’s elementary teachers had been notified of a positive COVID-19 test result. But by Tuesday, the students were allowed to return to continued from page

school because teachers were wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and using the 15-minute direct contact protocol, Kight said.

“We received notice Saturday that two of our teachers had direct contact with the positive case teacher. The two teachers received negative testing results for COVID- 19 but all three teachers will be quarantined using the DPH (Department of Health) guidelines,” Kight said.

Kight also informed parents that one of the high school students tested positive for the virus. “We are in the process of contact tracing and will send out quarantine letters,” Kight said.

“We are working closely with our health officials to make the best decisions for our students…We will continue to be as transparent as possible. The safety of our students and staff is always our top priority! This is a new era and we are communicating with health officials on a daily basis.

Again, I strongly encourage all students and staff to wear face masks,” Kight added.

Meanwhile, the system started on-line classes for 210 students on Monday. Toombs County Schools Superintendent Barry Waller posted an update for parents on the system’s Facebook page over the weekend. “I want to give you an update on where we currently stand in our district. We have finished our first full week of school and have had one of the smoothest starts ever considering both not being in school in nearly five months as well as the ‘new normal’ we are currently enduring. I would like to personally thank our teachers who are on the front lines of our school system providing nurturing learning environment in their classrooms even though we continue to face uncertainties.” This week, the system began distance/virtual learning for approximately 340 students—about 12% of the entire student enrollment. School level and well as district- level have been working diligently to make this learning option available, Waller said.

“As you know, school districts in Georgia have made decisions to either start back to school with various learning options like us, delay starting (many will start this week), and/or start with online learning only…Each district has been directed to make their own decision that is best for them,” Waller noted.

Currently, around 2,800 students and roughly 400 staff members make up the Toombs County School System. “It is inevitable that we have, will, and are dealing with COVID-19 related instances as well as other typical beginning school viruses and colds. Our guidelines are clear on how we are handling these situations and we are aggressively following our Re-Opening Plan,” Waller advised.

He said that in the last few days, the system has received confirmation from state contact tracers who have communicated with staff members as well as a state epidemiologist indicating the measures the system currently has in place are correct.

“Again, the strategic and careful decisions we are making are guided through daily conferencing by our school nurses, administrators, and district staff with DPH and other health care professionals to make sure our guidelines are keeping everyone safe while providing the best education for our kids in Toombs County.” Vidalia City Schools are scheduled to begin on-site classes Friday. The schools were originally scheduled to start August 7, but an eleventh- hour decision to delay was announced August 3. Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox announced, “Hopefully, this two-week period will allow this surge (in COVID- 19 cases) to reduce and will enable us to begin our school year in earnest.” At a called meeting on August 4, it was revealed that some of the system’s teachers had been affected by COVID-19. On Monday this week, Dr. Wilcox said all is in place and the staff and faculty are ready to welcome students on Friday.

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