CHARLTON COUNTY, Ga. – There will be school closures in four Southeast Georgia counties in an attempt to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
Gov. Brian Kemp on Sunday issued a public health emergency, and he tweeted Monday night that he was ordering the closure of all public elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools in Georgia from March 18 to March 31.
Glynn, Ware and Charlton counties all made announcements Sunday regarding school closures. Camden County school administrators and principals met Sunday night and announced its plans on Monday morning.
Here are the announcements from each school district:
“To best prioritize student and staff safety,” Camden County schools will close indefinitely on Tuesday, the district announced. All faculty and staff are expected to report to their schools on Tuesday, but no students will report. All schools and school buildings will be shut down indefinitely.
Distance Learning will begin March 18. All staff will work remotely to best support students, including delivering digital and physical instructional resources to students while they’re at home. Details about remote learning and answers to questions will be available early this week on the Camden County Schools website.
The school closures include all school building activities, athletics/sports, extracurricular school activities, and trips.
“The decision to close schools was not easy. We know this is a very difficult time for our school families and the community. We will work together to get through this unprecedented time,” Phoebe Floyd wrote in a new release. “We know that our families may have questions regarding how the school closure will impact them, and we will work to provide answers. We will continue to keep our community updated on the next steps during the school closure process as we turn to our digital learning resources.”
The Glynn County Public Schools announced Sunday that schools will remain open Monday, however, parents and guardians may keep students home without penalty is they choose to do so.
Glynn County schools will be closed beginning Tuesday and will remain closed until after spring break. Distance and online learning will begin for students on Wednesday and will continue through April 3. Classes will tentatively resume April 13 after spring break.
The school district said it made the decision to remain open Monday to allow students to receive assignments and additional instructions to ensure a smooth transition for distance and/or online learning.
Daily medications that are provided by the school nurse will be made available to parents on Monday and Tuesday. Parents are asked to contact the nurse prior to coming to the school.
The School Nutrition Department will finalize plans Monday for meal distributions during the school closure. The school district said details about how and where students can access meals will be shared as soon as they become available.
All district extracurricular activities, field trips, assemblies and sporting events will be canceled until further notice.
Monday and Tuesday will be regular workdays for all school district staff members. Tuesday will be a teacher planning day. All employees will receive specific guidance from their department leaders about expectations for work during the closure.
Ware County Superintendent Bert Smith announced Sunday afternoon that all schools will be in session Monday, but will close Tuesday and remain closed through spring break, which ends April 10.
“We understand the impact of this decision on our community and have chosen this option to provide our families time to prepare for the extended closure,” Smith said.
The superintendent said he will meet with board members on April 9 and determine whether schools will reopen on April 13.
All professional development meetings scheduled between now and spring break have been postponed indefinitely. Tutoring is canceled, however, coaches and club sponsors will be permitted to meet with their teams after school Monday. Field trips have been suspended indefinitely. The superintendent said some staff members may be asked to work, but all others should plan to practice social distancing.
Parents are asked to come to their child’s school between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday to pick up their child’s medicine. No visitors will be permitted past the front office.
The school district said it is working to continue its meal program and will share that information when it becomes available.
“This is a fluid situation with new information changing our response on a day-to-day basis,” said Smith, who added that the school district will continue to share the latest information on its website and Facebook page.
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The Charlton County School District will close Monday until Friday amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Charlton County Board of Education announced Sunday.
The Board of Education said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution and because a 29-year-old Charlton County woman tested positive for COVID-19.
The woman went to Southeast Georgia Health Systems’ campus in Camden County on March 7 with respiratory symptoms was treated and released but returned to the hospital Monday and has since preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19, the hospital announced Wednesday. According to the Board of Education, two close relatives of the resident who was hospitalized work for the school system.
“We will evaluate the continual closing of school on a weekly basis as the information surrounding this issue changes rapidly. All school activities, practices and rehearsals are canceled. Decisions concerning make-up days, other school activities and changes in the remaining school year calendar will be made at a later date,” reads a message Sunday from Superintendent John Lairsey.
The Board of Education said information for at-home learning resources will be announced Monday.
The School District said it will continue to update its website with information regarding COVID-19.
As of midday Monday, the Georgia Department of Public Health said there were 121 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. While most are in the greater Atlanta area, one resident of Charton County with COVID-19 is hospitalized in Camden County and the state reports a positive case in Lowndes County.