By Linton Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Elbert County School Superintendent Chuck Bell announced to the Board of Education Friday morning that schools will be closed for one week starting Monday.
The closing could be extended beyond next week if necessary as dictated by fluid developments related to the COVID-19, or Coronavirus, pandemic. Bell said the school district has a contingency plan in place for the emergency closing, which officials will be working to implement prior to Monday and in the days to follow.
“I would want our school community to know we’re focused on the health and safety of our students, families and community,” Bell said. We’re also focused on trying to maintain as much normalcy as possible in everyone’s lives.” The contingency plans, he said, include online learning and providing daily nutrition for students who rely on school meals.
While there has not been a positive Coronavirus test in Elbert County so far, Emergency Management Agency Director Chuck Almond, who was present at Friday’s meeting, strongly recommended Monday’s closing as a preventive step to mitigate the spread of the virus through social distancing of individuals. On Thursday, Gov. Brian Kemp suggested Georgia school districts consider closing for two weeks, but he left the specific decisions to each district.
The school district’s 12-month employees will be reporting to work on Monday, along with custodians working to clean all school facilities and buses. For the most part, teachers will carry out the online classroom plan from their homes.
Athletic events and other extracurricular activities are also suspended effective Saturday. Bell said the district has no plans to cancel or change Elbert County’s spring break, which is scheduled for April 3-10.