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What’s Richmond County’s process for closing a school?

Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 5:31 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Parents, many of you have reached out to us with questions about the process by which Richmond County Schools make decisions.

You wanted to know why some schools close but not others and why parents aren’t being informed when there’s a case within their child’s school.

When it comes to positive cases in schools, Richmond County says they work under the guidance of the Department of Public Health. It’s that guidance that helps them decide when to close a school -- like they did here at Garrett Elementary School.

The district says each positive case gets reported to Georgia DPH. DPH then helps the district find out who that student came in close contact with.

Close contact students are notified and asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

It’s those student and teacher absences that guide the district whether they should close a school, but they say each school and each case is different and are looked at on an individual basis.

Students who weren’t in direct contact with a positive case are not notified.

Lynthia Ross with the school district says that’s because DPH does not recommend mass notification.

“Entire schools won’t be notified if there’s a cse in the school,” Ross said. “But that’s also why we’re providing the data for parents and families and the community weekly. So that they can continue to follow what’s happening in their school.”

Georgia DPH defines close contact as being within 6 feet of a positive person for more than 15 minutes.

The district says that’s why an entire classroom at Monte Sano Elementary School closed down, but not the entire school.

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