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Staffing issues, COVID-19 lead to Richmond County school closures

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 11:11 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Four more Richmond County schools are putting face-to-face learning on hold.

There’s increased coronavirus activity among these schools but it’s not just the number of positive cases affecting schools.

Students at C.T. Walker, Sue Reynolds, Hornsby Middle and Jenkins-White will be learning virtually.

“We’re looking at coronavirus in our schools on a case by case basis,” said Lynthia Ross, public relations officer for the Richmond County School System.

The district closed the schools not just because of positive cases but because of the number of staff in quarantine.

“The number of staff members who are impacted by exposure to a positive coronavirus case is what led us to a determination that it was safer to operate these schools in the virtual environment completely, as opposed to trying to maintain higher numbers of student population or higher numbers of student body with not enough teachers to support the safe operation of the school,” Ross said.

On Oct. 22, C.T. Walker only had two employee quarantined, Sue Reynolds had 12, and Hornsby and Jenkins-White had zero.

Each school lost at least four staff members in only a few days. Without enough teachers to teach, the district had to enact other plans.

“As we approach the reopening dates for these schools, if the department of public health says your numbers are still high, or if we see that there’s a widespread or a cluster spread in these schools that continues to be a concern. If some of the quarantine cases. If a number of them turn into positive cases, we may take other steps.”

The district reported no new student positive cases Monday but a total of eight newly confirmed staff cases.

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