CCS COVID-19 Case Status Report
Calhoun City Schools is monitoring the state of public health in our schools and will report, on this webpage, every Friday the updated total number of COVID-19 positive cases for the week. Please note that the numbers posted here include confirmed positive tests beginning Wednesday, August 11,2021.
While we do not show reports of confirmed cases for students and staff for the first few days of school, we are realistic in knowing that these are likely. As one of the largest employers in our city and county, Calhoun City Schools has already had staff members who have had direct or indirect contact with persons who have COVID-19. Some individuals have tested positive with no symptoms, while others have had mild symptoms. Again, we are aware of students and staff who have had confirmed positive tests prior to opening day, however, these individuals have not been onsite since the start of school.
Education will be key to help us slow the spread and act responsibly. Schools are focusing on safety rituals and routines that include increased hand washing, using hand sanitizer, social distancing and wearing masks when distancing is not possible. CCS is in daily communication with the Department of Public Health and will continue to follow protocols of quarantine / isolation etc. when students and/or staff are identified. CCS will follow FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) laws and only share information allowed.
Students’ parents/guardians and employees will be notified whenever there is a positive COVID-19 case at their school which has a direct connection to him/her. If a student’s exposure to a student or employee who has tested positive meets the Department of Health’s requirements for mandated precautionary quarantine, parents/guardians will be immediately advised; the same notification will be made to employees who meet these requirements. A precautionary quarantine does not mean that an employee or student is sick or will become sick, but is a Department of Public Health mandated practice, fully supported by CCS, to best ensure the safety of the student or employee, as well as those teaching and learning around them.
Students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 must not return to school until they meet the Department of Public Health’s Return to School Guidance After COVID-19 Illness or Exposure. Additionally, students and staff should stay home if they are exhibiting any of COVID-19 symptoms identified by DPH and the CDC, including a fever of 100.4 or higher. Students or staff must not come to school until they have been fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medication, for at least 24 hours.
Thank you in advance for helping us to have a safe re-opening of school. We respectfully ask that students, staff and parents contact the schools directly through email (email@example.com or by phone if there are questions and/or concerns. It is extremely difficult to manage social media posts that the schools may or may not see. Misinformation on social media causes extra work, undue stress for staff, students’ families and makes it difficult for our schools to focus on what matters most, the education and safety of our students. Go Jackets!
Charting the Course to Excellence
#BE THE LIGHT: Shining the light on the health and safety of our community
While we had hoped for a more "normal" start to the school year, the most recent information from Gordon County's Covid Task Force, AdventHealth Gordon and the local Department of Public Health gives us cause to reevaluate our Reopening Plan. With a significant spike in Covid 19 cases and hospitalizations in Calhoun, Gordon County and the number of student positive cases from the past week, we must amend our Reopening Plan. We want to do everything possible to continue in-person instruction and learning for the 2021-2022 school year.
We know that the use of masks does not guarantee that the virus will not be spread; however, this is something we can do to help as advised by the CDC and the Department of Public Health. Beginning Monday, August 23, 2021, masks will be required (like last year) for students and staff in classrooms where social distancing is not possible, in hallways during transitions, and on school buses, regardless of vaccination status until September 17th. We will re-evaluate on this date.
Masks, contact tracing and heightened safety and security protocols kept us in school all year last year. We hope this temporary requirement will help us navigate the challenges of this most recent surge. Once we feel it is safe to do so, we will relieve the mask restrictions and requirements and masks will continue to be optional. Each school has re-evaluated cafeteria use and have made modifications to lunch schedules and operations. We must also restrict visitors / volunteers to each of our school campuses until further notice. (This does not include instructionally related opportunities.) Thank you for understanding.
In the spirit of transparency, Calhoun City Schools will continue to post weekly Covid positive cases on the website, as was standard practice last year. We will continue to share information regarding where to receive the Covid 19 vaccine. We appreciate everyone's support as we work together to combat the spread of Covid 19. Please contact me directly with any questions and / or concerns. I can be reached at 770-773-6575. Our top priority is the safety of our students and staff. Working together, we believe we can keep our schools open and safe.
Review of CDC Recommendations:
- Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall 2021 is a priority.
- Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID 19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports.
- Due to the circulating and highly contagious Delta variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
- In addition to universal indoor masking, CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms to reduce transmission risk. When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully re-open while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies, such as screening testing.
- Screening testing, ventilation, hand-washing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are also important layers of prevention to keep schools safe.
- Students, teachers, and staff should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care.
- Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time. Therefore, this guidance emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together consistently) to protect students, teachers, staff, visitors, and other members of their households and support in-person learning.
- Localities should monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and occurrence of outbreaks to guide decisions on the level of layered prevention strategies (e.g., physical distancing, screening testing).