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pone reopening. The Montgomery County Schools were originally scheduled to open on August 3 but have now postponed until Tuesday, August 10.

The school system announced the change in plans following the news that five of its teachers and one student had tested positive for the virus. Ten other employees were quarantined because of exposure to the virus. The school system also delayed open houses until August 9.

In Wheeler County, Schools Superintendent Suzanne Couey issued an announcement Monday night that schools would not reopen on Friday, August 6, as planned because of COVID outbreaks in the community. Students will now return on Monday, August 9, and will be required to wear masks.

Open houses will be held on Friday, August 6, and plans for vaccinating students with parental consent have changed. Originally, the schools were partnering with the Wheeler County Health Department to offer vaccinations to students 12 years of age and above at the middle/ high school open house, but other arrangements will be made for those desiring vaccinations.

“We now know that the Delta variant spreads more easily and more quickly than previous strains of the COVID-19 virus. The World Health Organization states that this variant is spreading about 55% faster than the original strain; this helps explain the significant increase in positive cases in our area,” said Karen Mc-Coll, Chief Medical Officer for Meadows Hospital.

She noted that there are some proactive steps that can be taken as a community to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Wash your hands – Practicing good hand hygiene is one of the best ways to avoid illness. Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Wear a mask – As COVID- 19 is usually spread by respiratory droplets, wearing a mask protects both the person wearing the mask as well as others who may come in contact with you.

Keep your distance (at least 6 feet) – You don’t want to get too close to someone who may be sick. And with COVID-19, people may carry the virus but have no symptoms. Stay away from crowded places. Practicing social distancing helps to keep you safe and healthy.

Get vaccinated – This is probably the most important step you can take to prevent COVID-19. Research shows that the vaccine is largely effective in preventing deaths and hospitalizations. While there have been some breakthrough cases in vaccinated people, those individuals usually experience only mild symptoms.

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