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Grady County Schools are in their third week of the year, and leaders are cautiously optimistic about educating students in the age of a pandemic. Dr. Kermit Gilliard, superintendent of Grady County Schools, says discipline issues are down compared to normal years, and school leaders are handling matters of quarantine well when they arise.
“Everybody seems to be settled in. Things are pretty quiet from a discipline standpoint,” Gilliard says.
A preK class, 22 students, one teacher and a paraprofessional, was sent home Friday to quarantine after one of the classmates tested positive. The class of students from the Northside district is housed at Southside Elementary School.
The student was in class on Monday, Sept. 14, then awoke Tuesday feeling ill and was tested for COVID-19. A parent alerted the school Friday morning that the child’s test result was positive.
Dr. Gilliard says parents picked up all of the students in the preK class before lunch that Friday.
At Cairo High School, the cross country team did not participate in a Saturday event as a precautionary measure, according to Tom Fallaw, Cairo High athletic director and assistant principal. A teammate with symptoms came to practice Friday. As of Tuesday, Fallaw said they were still awaiting results of the runner’s COVID-19 test.
Overall, there are two Grady County virtual school students, two in-person students and four employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, according to information from Gilliard. Those on quarantine for possible exposure include 60 students and 14 employees.
The virtual school students who have tested positive are Eastside Elementary School students. The in-person students who are positive attend Northside and Whigham School. The positive teachers are at C.H.S., Northside, Shiver School, and Whigham.
Students on quarantine include 20 at C.H.S.; one at Eastside; one at Shiver; three at Southside Elementary School; 13 at Whigham; and the 22 Northside preK students.
Teachers on quarantine include six at C.H.S.; one at Eastside; one at Northside; one at Shiver; one at Southside; and two at Whigham. Washington Middle School is the only school not affected by COVID-19 this week.
There are a total of 4,544 students enrolled in Grady County Schools for either online or in-person classes this school year, Gilliard says. He says there are about 30 fewer Hispanic students this year, according to school social workers who have discovered that they left the community at the beginning of the pandemic and have not returned.
Gilliard urges parents to keep children home from school if they have symptoms to help prevent the spread of the virus. If a student needs to quarantine, the school will both call and send a letter, Gilliard says. The school system is following guidelines set by the Georgia Department of Public Health in regards to quarantining students.
Anyone who “has been in contact with (a) symptomatic person more than 15 minutes and less than six feet” from that person will be sent home for 10 to 14 days per that guidance. Gilliard says those days will be excused.