EVANS COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The Evans County School System is closing three schools early for Christmas break due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the school system.
Claxton Middle, Claxton High, and Second Chance Academy will close Thursday, Dec. 17 and Friday, Dec. 18 out of precaution, according to the school system.
Weekend meals will be sent home with middle and high school students on Wednesday.
Claxton Elementary School will remain open through the remainder of this week. Weekend meals will be sent home with elementary students on Thursday.
All district employees will report to work the rest of the week and follow administrative safety guidelines which will be provided.
All athletic and extracurricular activities have been suspended immediately as well as through the Christmas break.
The influx of COVID-19 cases that have hit the Evans County School System come exactly 10 days after the Thanksgiving break according to Superintendent Marty Waters. He said before this outbreak, they were averaging about a case per week since September, maintaining a less than one percent COVID case rate.
As of Monday, 14 teachers have had to quarantine and 12 students due to direct contact.
Of those, there have been less than 10 positive cases, but as of Tuesday night, additional cases have also been identified.
“I’m not completely surprised. Of course, I’m a little disappointed but we’re in the middle of a pandemic and we’re doing everything we can to be proactive, but at the same time we have to be reactive and make good decisions there as well,” Waters said.
Waters said the Department of Public Health refers to the outbreak as a cluster, but even still, they are reporting the most recent information as it comes in.
“We’ve had some parents question the reports that the district publishes. We have to report to DPH the actual number of cases that we quarantine at school, in other words someone identified and we mandate they go home. We really have no way of tracking the number of cases outside of school where parents have elected to test children and kept them home from a family occurrence.” Waters said.
Evans County Schools will be on Christmas Break Dec. 21, 2020 – Jan. 3, 2021. Superintendent Waters said they will make the decision by Dec. 30 on whether they will go completely virtual when students are expected to return Jan. 4.