Georgia school district shuts down for 2 weeks because of skyrocketing COVID-19 cases

LAMAR COUNTY, Ga. — Lamar County Schools has announced that all schools are suspended for two weeks and will return to virtual learning until at least October due to skyrocketing cases of COVID-19.

The district announced Friday afternoon that the county is experiencing the fourth-highest rates of COVID-19 cases in the state over the last 14 days.

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“Between positive cases and quarantines, we are unable to cover our school bus routes, our kitchen staff is incomplete, and we cannot properly supervise all classrooms,” officials said. “Our food supply has also been impacted. We currently have 36 staff members out (district-wide) and our daily student absences are exceeding 600.”

The district said all schools will be shut down for two weeks starting Monday. Classes will resume on Sept. 7 with a four-day virtual school week through fall break, which is on Oct. 8. It is unclear if there will be an in-person option.

Lamar County is seeing an average of 20 new cases of COVID-19 a day and a 23% positivity rate. The school district has reported nearly 250 COVID-19 cases among faculty and staff since Aug. 4. There are only 2,600 students enrolled in the district.

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“We will reassess and determine plans going forward as we monitor COVID rates,” officials said. “This pause will cover 10 scheduled school days, but will give us a 17-day break to attend to positive cases, quarantines, and to prepare for the remainder of the school year.”

The district said they have fought and will continue to fight to keep schools open, but it has become impossible to ensure students get to school and home each day in a healthy environment.

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The district said it will spend the next two weeks deep-cleaning schools and preparing for a virtual curriculum. Students will not get any new assignments in the next two weeks.