COVID-19 exposure prompts staff shortages, closure of Ware County’s middle schools

Cook County, north of Valdosta, will close its schools for two weeks

Two schools in Ware County are closing for a week, after an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Due to staffing shortages caused by COVID-19 exposure, both Ware County Middle School and Waycross Middle School will be closed to in-person learning for the next two weeks but will continue digital instruction.

All middle school athletic and extra-curricular activities will be canceled during the closure. Middle school students will return to classrooms on Nov. 30.

“We have 11 staff members at one school and 20 staff members at another school,” confirmed Page Coker with Ware County Schools.

The district is aware of two students testing positive at one school and three students at the other.

Ware County said any further announcements will be shared through Facebook, its website or using the Thrillshare telephone alert system.

Affected staff members will receive additional information from their principals. The cooperation of staff members who are asked to quarantine will be helpful in avoiding any further closures.

In Cook County, two counties west of Waycross, the school leadership team announced plans to close next Thursday, Nov. 19, for two weeks due to an increase of COVID cases and quarantine cases. During the break, buildings will be thoroughly sanitized.

“This will allow time for our students, faculty and staff to be quarantined from one another after possible exposure during the Thanksgiving holidays,” Cook County Superintendent Tim Dixon said in a statement.

News4Jax is also keeping our eye on other Southeast Georgia school districts.

In Camden County, the latest numbers (from Oct. 23) show 25 students are either positive for the virus or are in quarantine, plus five staffers. Face coverings are mandatory.

As of Friday, Glynn County schools reported four students positive for the virus and 41 in quarantine, while seven staff members are positive and five are in quarantine. Face coverings are required in Glynn schools.

Charlton County schools reported one student tested positive. Three students and two staffers are in quarantine as of last week. The district does not require face coverings.

About the Authors:

McLean is a reporter with WJXT, covering education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.

Multi-media journalist with a special interest in Georgia issues.