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Montgomery County Schools Issue Mask Mandate for Bus Riders

Beginning Tuesday, February 16, all students who ride Montgomery County School System buses were required to wear a mask while on the bus. The executive order went into effect on February 1 and was approved by the School Board on February 8 at its regular session. This mandate includes private and public buses, daily routes, field trips or athletic events.

Bus drivers will have extra masks on hand if needed. For more information, parents and guardians can refer to CDC guidance at: coronavirus/ 2019- ncov/ travelers/face-masks-public- transportation.html.

During the Board session, Superintendent Hugh Kight said the system’s COVID reports are slowly decreasing and safety protocol is still used. He said there are 53 students who are learning virtually. Since open enrollment began this month, 50 students have applied for admission to Montgomery County School System’s Eagle Academy, Kight announced.

A customized program designed to challenge high achievers in grades K-8, the program is the first of its kind being offered in this area. Plans are for the academy to initially accommodate some 80 students who will be attending beginning in the 2021-2022 term. Two parent night meetings have been held so far and an open house is planned for May 4. Funded through FTE allocations, Eagle Academy is a program of choice designed for K-8 grade students who have a passion for learning that is primarily focused in the arts, humanities, sciences and technology. “Our goal is to challenge these students to their maximum potential,” Kight said in a previous interview.

The academy instructors will be chosen from continued from page

existing MOCO schools staff. Students will attend the academy in sync with regular school hours.

Any enrolled Montgomery County Schools gifted-identified, highlymotivated or high-achieving K-8 student may apply. Students who do not currently attend MCS or those who live outside the attendance district may apply and, upon notification of admittance to the academy, must enroll in the Montgomery County Schools. All enrolling academy students will be assigned a base school (either Montgomery County Elementary School or Montgomery County Middle School), but will attend Eagle Academy. There is no tuition and applications for out of county attendees will be opened after the system process is complete.

Students attending the Academy are afforded the opportunity to participate in all available extracurricular clubs, sports, competitions, and other activities at their base school; and they will be encouraged to do so, Kight explained. If students live outside the Eagle Academy school zone, parents must provide transportation for their children to and from school. “In return, the Eagle Academy provides opportunities for students to thrive in a highly-personalized environment dedicated to meeting the needs of the passionate, gifted, and talented learner both academically and creatively.”

Among the concepts being considered for inclusion in the Academy curriculum are NJROTC activities twice a month; a law partnership which will involve bringing in actual lawyers to acquaint students with the rudiments of this profession as a possible career choice; a chess team; Algebra 1 (8th grade); field trips to sites where students can get an up close and personal look at occupations and professions which they may like to pursue; music; yearbook; school newspaper; drone class; quiz bowl team; STEM activities; energy activities; Coding 101; Spanish; wildlife biology; and a drama team.

The Academy is being housed in the newly-refurbished former high school on 701 Dobbins Street in Mount Vernon, adjacent to the board offices. Kight also noted that Wifi Rangers are being placed inside buildings at various locations in the county to assist students who need to connect to the internet to do school work and homework. Wifi Rangers have been placed at 517 Wings, Three Rivers Firehouse and City Hall in Uvalda; at Alston Baptist Church; at Harvest Chapel Church in Petross; at the Housing Authority and the Montgomery County Schools Bus Shop in Mount Vernon; and at Tarrytown Fire Department and Tarrytown Baptist Church. Two additional locations are being researched. The superintendent also announced that K-12 students have completed entries in the annual RESA Writing Contest and entries are now being judged. The system also mailed “Fair Bear” writing entries to the Georgia National Fair.

Ribbon cutting ceremonies for the Brogdon’s Brick Boosters and the Curtis Ryals Track and Field are set for 1:45 p.m. and 2 p.m. respectively on March 1. Track begins at home on March 2 at 3:30 p.m. The HCRESA Math Contest for 6-8th graders is slated for March 3. Kight announced that the state wrestling tournament was held on February 9 and 10 in Macon, baseball began February 15, the basketball regional tournament is scheduled for February 16-20, and boys’ soccer starts March 5 at 5 p.m. in Dooly County. During the session the board approved a $1,000 one-time supplement to all staff and board pending state Board of Education approval. These funds were assigned to the State Board by the Governor’s Office with COVID-19 allocations.

The board approved a $36,000 bid by Johnnie Smith Paving of Wrightsville to provide asphalt work for the school’s track entrance and parking lot.

Personnel approvals included new contracts for Sarah Larson, agriculture teacher and Kody Bargeron, Community Middle School Baseball Coach; and for the rehire of certified staff for the system’s elementary, middle and high schools for the 2021-2022 year (effective July, 2021).

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