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Updates

In response to the threat of the Coronavirus, the Columbia County School District will close for students Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, April 3.  Teachers will provide learn from home lessons and will monitor student learning throughout this thirteen-day period. Spring Break will continue as scheduled April 6 –13. The School District will evaluate conditions prior to the end of Spring Break and announce plans for reopening at that time.

We want our children and teachers well prepared and will use today and tomorrow to establish means for continuing our students’ education as much as possible over the next few weeks. Parents should expect communications from their children’s teachers in the coming days and notify the school if they need instructional supports such as technology devices.

Although there are no known cases of this virus in our area at this time, schools will be closed in an abundance of precaution and in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. During this time, parents and children should avoid traveling to areas of high risk and continue practicing personal hygiene recommendations and social distancing.

 

Dr. Sandra Carraway, Superintendent
Columbia County School District

As the growing threat of the Coronavirus continues across our country, please know that the Columbia County School District is aware of the deep concerns and challenges we face from all angles. We are preparing for a learn from home environment to be implemented as necessary. We want our children and teachers well prepared and will use the coming week to establish a means for continuing our students’ education as much as possible. Please look for communications from your school regarding updates in the coming days.

If parents choose to keep their children home from school, we will respect those decisions without penalty, as parents have the ultimate decision-making authority for their children in these uncertain times. We simply ask that parents notify their child’s teacher or school if making that decision. Absences will be excused, and make-up work will be provided, along with time to complete it. These absences will not impact high school exam exemption status. Likewise, when the learn from home environment is implemented, we will encourage all to participate as much as possible.

For families who send their children to school the coming week, please know we are taking steps to ensure their well-being and that of our employees. There are currently no cases of this virus in our area, and we will work to help keep it that way in our schools.

For more information regarding our response to this virus, please visit our website at ccboe.net. Also, please continue to monitor our communications, as decisions regarding school closures are imminent.

March 14, 2020 Update:

Good afternoon, false statements have been circulating on social media with the CCSD logo stating the closure of the school district through the end of the month. At this time there are no plans to close schools. If and when a decision to close schools is made, parents will be contacted individually through our call messaging system and via our website, www.ccboe.net. Official Facebook and Twitter accounts will be updated and local media will also be contacted to help us inform our community. Please be aware of the legitimacy of messages you may receive regarding announcements such as these. Again, there are currently no plans to close schools at this time.

In response to the possible spread of the Coronavirus, the Columbia County School District will prohibit school activities and events which involve visitors or spectators beginning Monday, March 16, through the end of the month. At that time, the district will reevaluate this situation and respond accordingly.

Additionally, because this is an evolving health concern, please be aware that further action, to include complete cancellation of all activities and/or school is a possibility. Should the need arise for schools to be closed, teachers will provide lessons to students so that learning may continue from home. More “learn from home” details will be provided to students and parents by teachers in the very near future. Also, more information may be found at ccboe.net.

 

March 13, 2020, Update No. 2 

We appreciate the feedback our community has provided to us, following several announcements made this afternoon, Friday, March 13, 2020, regarding the school district’s decision to prohibit school events and activities that include spectators and visitors. Despite closings elsewhere, schools will remain open until further notice.

When making decisions that will affect more than 28,000 children, their parents, approximately 3,400 employees, and this community, our school district seeks every avenue to help us make the best decision possible. Decisions for one community or entity may not be the same for ours. We rely heavily upon guidance from the Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for matters such as the coronavirus threat.

The following statement from the CDC regarding school closures is worthy of noting:

Closing schools early in the spread of disease for a short time (e.g., 2 weeks) will be unlikely to stem the spread of disease or prevent impact on the health care system, while causing significant disruption for families, schools, and those who may be responding to COVID-19 outbreaks in health care settings. It may also increase impact on older adults who care for grandchildren. Waiting to enact school closures until at the correct time in the epidemic (e.g., later in the spread of disease) combined with other social distancing interventions allows for optimal impact despite disruption.

Presently, we are monitoring attendance rates, which remain high, even higher than they were this time last year in most cases, indicating our students are healthy by and large. If those numbers were to drop due to illness in one or more schools, we would consider closing that school or those schools to provide deeper cleaning. Otherwise, CDC reports indicate that closing a school for two weeks or less has little impact on the spread of the virus, as compared to the great negative impact it would have on disrupting families and putting elderly caregivers at greater risk.

We place the safety and well-being of our students and staff as a top priority. Should conditions warrant school closure, we will provide students with learn from home opportunities as much as possible.

Notwithstanding, if parents choose to keep their children home from school, we will respect those decisions, as parents have the ultimate decision-making responsibility for their children. We ask that parents inform their children’s teacher or school if they choose to keep their children home. In such cases, make-up work will be provided and time to complete it will be afforded in accordance with board policy.

Thank you, again. We appreciate your understanding and support.

View the entire CDC document:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/considerations-for-school-closure.pdf.

 

 

The Columbia County School District (CCSD) is closely monitoring the coronavirus in the U.S. with guidance from state and federal agencies with the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Please routinely monitor our websites and social media for updates.

While several other school districts outside of our immediate area have confirmed some positive coronavirus test results, there are no known cases of coronavirus in the CCSD at this time.

In an effort to inform our stakeholders, this webpage includes a variety of information and resources regarding the ongoing operations of our schools through the ever-changing status quo regarding the coronavirus. All information is updated routinely as information is received. It is our goal to keep our students, staff and parents safe and healthy. 

On this page, you can find information for the following items:

  • Illness Prevention
  • Student and Staff Attendance
  • School District Travel
  • Student Travel to and from Identified High-Risk Areas
  • Staff Travel to and from Identified High-Risk Areas
  • Enrollment of New Students from Identified High-Risk Areas
  • How to Prepare to Learn from Home
  • Postponed School Activities and Events

A top priority of the CCSD is the safety and wellness of our students, staff, and community. Prevention is key to stopping the spread of germs that cause illness. Here's how you can help:

  • Parents should monitor their children's health, and if they suspect a fever, conduct a screening at home with a simple home thermometer. If a child has a fever, he or she should not return to school until fever-free for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.
  • Wash hands frequently, preferably using soap and water. Hand sanitizer is a second choice.
  • Due to the quick spread of coronavirus, parents should contact their local healthcare provider to establish a course of action should their child come down with illness. 

As we are already in flu season, housekeeping staff in all school buildings are being asked to take extended measures with sanitizing high-touch areas like doorknobs and desktops, in addition to daily, routine cleaning and sanitizing measures already in place.

The CCSD encourages parents, students, and staff to be aware of the symptoms of illness and not to report to school if they experience fever, along with any of the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Body Aches
  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Sometimes Diarrhea and Vomiting

Students or staff who experience any fever will be sent home and not allowed to return to school until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. Students and staff should not report to school when running a fever.

We will continue to follow the direction of the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

Employees should inform their supervisor via telephone and/or email, prior to returning to work if they have traveled to areas with a Level 3 or 4 Travel Health Notice advisory for the coronavirus as identified by the Centers for Disease Control, which includes *China, Iran, South Korea or Italy, or from areas within the U.S. with a higher number of confirmed coronavirus cases. The supervisor should immediately contact the school district office for further instructions on the employee’s return to work.
The CCSD will continue to follow the guidance from the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and will communicate updates to our employees and stakeholders.

Due to the ongoing concerns for the spread of coronavirus, the CCSD will temporarily adjust procedures for children attempting to enroll from outside the U.S. and from areas within the U.S. with a higher number of confirmed coronavirus cases. Out of an abundance of precaution, new student enrollment will be monitored and approved on a case by case basis until further notice.

Parents attempting to enroll children from areas within the U.S. with a higher number of confirmed coronavirus cases, or from outside the U.S. with a Level 3 or 4 Travel Health Notice advisory for the coronavirus, as identified by the Centers for Disease Control, should contact the school district office via telephone at 706-541-0650 and/or via email contactus@ccboe.net.

Children who register from outside the U.S., or a high-risk area with a higher number of confirmed coronavirus cases, are asked to wait 14 days to enroll in CCSD schools.

*Areas with ongoing travel restrictions as identified by the Centers for Disease Control are subject to change. Stay up to date with the latest travel restriction information here: (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html)

The Columbia County School District is prepared to offer at-home learning during the present shutdown. Teachers will be in contact with students and parents with instructions on how to proceed and will provide daily specific instructions for each day that is designated as a learn from home day. Teachers will use a prepared lesson plan template that will be easy to navigate.

Below is a checklist of things that make Learn from Home productive:
  • Determine if you have access to an internet connection. (If not, see below)
  • Establish a designated workspace that is quiet, comfortable and free from distractions (including the TV).
  • Plan times to take breaks to use the restroom and/or to have a snack. Lesson times will not exceed 30 minutes for each subject.
 
What if children do not have internet access or access to a device at home?
Students who do not have internet access or access to a device should notify their teacher. Students will submit their completed hard copies upon returning to school in accordance with the school district policy on makeup work.
Unless otherwise noted, all grade levels will participate in the same number of days for learn from home activities. Teachers will notify parents of the number of days learn from home activities are required.
Parents should contact their child’s teacher for any questions regarding learn from home activities during office hours which will be set and shared by the teachers prior to the learn from home day.
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