Effingham Co. School District adapting to ongoing challenges brought by COVID-19

The district has already learned a lot after two weeks of classes & is making changes

Effingham Co. School District adapting to ongoing challenges brought by COVID-19

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s now been just over two weeks since the first day of school in Effingham County.

The district offering both in-person and virtual options, but the students aren't the only ones learning something new this year.

“It feels like we’re building a plane while we’re flying,” said ECSD Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford

The new school year in Effingham County hasn’t come without it’s fair share of turbulence.

“Over the past two weeks we’ve had, at different schools, several cases of and positive COVID-19 staff members and we’ve had to quarantine quite a few,” said Dr. Ford.

Which is something the district and Dr. Ford had anticipated.

“You know, obviously we knew we were going to have some positive cases.”

But that doesn’t mean they haven’t had to adapt how they handle them. Learning by listening and trusting those closest to the situation.

“The thing that I am most confident about is the work that these teachers and these principals are putting in because they’re boots on the ground,” Dr. Ford says.

Principals like South Effingham Middle School's Christy Brown.

Principal Brown highlighting the importance of an open line of communication.

“We want to be as transparent with parents as possible with procedures we have in place every single day. I’m a parent too, I know we all have questions and we need those questions answered, so we are welcome to questions.”

Of course, due to HIPAA, they can only release so much but they are changing how they release it to parents.

Instead of a letter like before, “every time we have a positive case we’re doing phone calls to the students and to the staff members that are directly effected by it,” says Dr. Ford.

Those who were in direct contact with a COVID positive individual, meaning within six feet for more than 15 minutes, will then have to quarantine for 14 days, keeping up with class virtually.

Another change to help with communication, will be weekly reports provided by the district which detail the number of positive cases and quarantines at each school.

Slight changes that may make a big difference, and may also not be the last ones they make.

“We’re not afraid to make adjustments if it’s going to help us stay and school and keep our staff and our students safe,” said Dr. Ford.

As for masks they are still not mandatory but the district says they are encouraging students to wear them as well as practice social distancing when possible.

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