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COVID keeps schools closed in Glascock, Taliaferro counties

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 8:01 AM EDT
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GIBSON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Students in Glascock and Taliaferro counties remain in a virtual-learning mode as the ultra-contagious delta variant sweeps the CSRA, infecting more children than the original coronavirus.

Taliaferro County schools switched to at-home learning last week. With a tentative return date of Aug. 18, the district is offering testing today at the school.

Glascock County switched to virtual instruction starting this week after after several students and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 100 people were quarantined last week within the first few days of school.

At last count, 17 students and eight staff members have tested positive in Glascock County.

In addition to classes, all sports activities are canceled for this week. The district is planning a tentative return date of Aug. 23 under a hybrid model that mixes in-school and at-home learning.

When students return, the district plans to take these steps to cut down the spread of coronavirus:

  • Face coverings will be recommended for staff and students, but not mandatory.
  • Students in K-8 will remain in homeroom “family groups” throughout the school day. Core groups will be identified and will remain in the same seating chart throughout the day. Class changes will take place with no different groups passing in the hallways.
  • Students in high school will remain in their previous schedule. Core groups will be identified and will remain in the same seating chart throughout the day. The children who change each period will sit spaced out as much as is possible. Transitioning of students in hallways will be staggered to minimize the number of students in the hallway at one time.
  • No hallway lockers will be used. Bookbags will be kept in classrooms.
  • Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day.
  • Bathroom breaks will be taken by “family groups.” Bathrooms will be disinfected after each group uses it.
  • Lunch will be in classrooms for first through 12th grades. Kindergartners will eat in the cafeteria, with tables spread out and seats marked for social distancing.
  • Recess and break will be separated by homerooms.
  • All water fountains will be covered. A water bottle will be provided to students who request one. Students will be encouraged to bring a clear water bottle from home.
  • Tutoring will be offered through the accelerated learning program. In-person children will be scheduled as identified by teachers.
  • There will be assigned seating on buses and sibling groups will be seated together. Face coverings will be mandatory on buses, and hands will be sanitized upon boarding and exiting.
  • Parents/visitors are urged to call or email instead when feasible. Limit visitors to the office area except when attending previously scheduled conferences.
  • Temperatures will be taken for every individual entering the building.

The district is asking parents to choose a learning model for their kids for the rest of the semester. They can make the selection at https://forms.office.com/r/8mmA7DTYj2.

The school district listed Community Health Care Systems locations nearby where people can get tested for COVID:

  • 702 W. Main St., Gibson, 706-598-3359
  • 1008 Atlanta Highway, Warrenton, 706-465-3253
  • 623 N. Main St., Wrens, 706-547-7551

Elsewhere in the region

Although Taliaferro County is planning a tentative return under a hybrid learning model next week, a final decision won’t be made until Friday.

In the meantime, the district is partnering with Lux Diagnostics to offer COVID testing at the school. The testing drive will be held from 3:30-5:30 p.m. today. You can register at http://taliaferro.dragonflyphd.com or just show up.

The change to virtual learning came after students had been in class for a couple of weeks. Opening on July 19, Taliaferro was one of the first districts in Georgia to start the school year.

The decision to go virtual “came after much deliberation and out of an abundance of caution,” according to a post on the district’s Facebook page.

“We love our students, staff, and community too much to put anyone in harm’s way,” the post said.

Also in Georgia, the Macon County and Talbot County districts have gone virtual.

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