All Richmond County schools closing due to COVID-19

Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 11:19 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2020 at 12:18 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - All Richmond County schools will close for two weeks after the spread of coronavirus has reached troublesome levels, according to the district.

The Richmond County School System has seen a recent increase in COVID-19 activity in its central office, transportation department and several schools, officials said.

Richmond County schools will close starting Monday and remain closed through the week, with students learning from home during that period. Schools will stay closed for the following week — an already-scheduled Thanksgiving break — and reopen Nov. 30.

There will be no impact or change for students who were already learning from home, the district said.

Throughout the home-learning period, teachers will continue to support instruction, parents were told.

A student will be considered present for school next week as long as all assignments are completed, the district said.

Seven schools were already closed as of today, but the announcement came on the same day two campuses — Freedom Park Elementary and Murphey Middle School — reopened after being closed due to COVID-19.

Since the semester began, various schools have bounced between being closed and open as virus activity flares up and subsides.

It’s not always a matter of students or teachers being sick themselves, but the closures can be triggered by a large number of absences of either kids or employees who are quarantined due to family members being sick or other possible exposure.

Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw, who was recently diagnosed with coronavirus himself, offered reassurances in a letter to parents.

Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw, superintendent of the Richmond County School System.
Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw, superintendent of the Richmond County School System.(WRDW)

“If you have not received a letter or notification that your child has had direct contact with a COVID positive case, they are not required to self-isolate,” Bradshaw said. However, if a student has direct contact with a coronavurus patient or tests positive during the next two weeks, their school should be notified, Bradshaw said.

“Richmond County School System considers the health and well-being of our students, teachers, and staff to be of the utmost importance,” he wrote.

“We are committed to ensure the safest environment for our students and staff. We will continue to work closely with local public health officials to ensure the proper recommendations are followed to clean and disinfect our school facility and act in the best interest of our students, teachers and staff.”

Bringing internet access to students

Although internet access has been an issue for some current learn-from-home students, a new program should help fix that. This week, the district launched a roving Wi-Fi program that brings internet access to students by placing hotspots in buses that are parked in neighborhoods across the area.

The buses are parked Monday through Thursday between 5 and 7 p.m. so students can connect their digital devices to get schoolwork done. Students can connect to the internet using a personal or district-issued laptop computer, smartphone, or tablet device within 500 feet of the bus.

The bus locations are:

  • Cedar Grove, 526 Richmond Hill Road West, Augusta
  • Dogwood Terrace, Bolt Drive, Augusta
  • Regency Village, 2810 Thomas Lane, Augusta
  • The Creeks, 1815 Belmont Avenue, Augusta
  • *Magnolia Park, 2133 Vandivere Road, Augusta
  • Carr Street, near First Free Will Baptist Church, Augusta
  • Irwin Court, Oak Street (Everfaithful Baptist Church), Augusta,
  • Travis Road and James Drive Intersection, Augusta,
  • Augusta Manor, 3551 Mike Padgett Highway, Augusta
  • Butler Creek, 1850 Phinizy Road, Augusta
  • Castle Pines (4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.), 3866 Mike Padgett Highway, Augusta
  • Highview Manor, 3500 block of Highview Court, Augusta
  • Villa Marie Apartments, 3200 Deans Bridge Road, Augusta
  • Salem Arms, 2243 Rosier Road, Augusta

The district’s letter to parents

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