Evans Co. Charter School System closed the rest of the week due to excessive COVID-related absences

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 3:31 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 3:38 PM EST
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EVANS COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - UPDATE: Due to an excessive amount of COVID-related employee and student absences, the Evans County Charter School System will be closed January 12, 13, 14, 2022.

Superintendent Martin Waters said the district will observe MLK Holiday on Monday, January 17th and reopen on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

“We don’t have enough employees to operate, not enough teachers to operate, not enough school nutrition workers to serve lunch. I mean, it went from 63 yesterday to 83 today and we know we’ll have potential cases tomorrow so we simply just didn’t have the staff to operate school. All of the indications from medical advisors, is that Omicron is extremely contagious and it appears that’s what happened. We’ve had a case or two and it’s spread like wildfire,” said Dr. Waters.

During the closure all buildings in the district will undergo deep cleaning, sanitization and fogging.

The district has determined February 18, March 10, 11, 2022 as makeup instructional days.

When students return, the mask mandate will still be in place.

Some parents WTOC talked to say while they’re worried about the semester ahead, they feel closing the schools was the right decision.

“I think it’s a good choice. We have to make up those days, of course, but I think a good five or six days, maybe we can get these people well and get back in school,” said Evans County parent Crystal Massey.

The Evans County Charter School System has reinstated their mask mandate after an uptick in cases in the county.

ECCSS says they are experiencing higher than normal absenteeism among students ranging from 17 percent at middle, 20 percent at elementary, and 24 percent at high school.

The district plans to continue normal operations as long as it has adequate staff, and it is safe to do so. However, the district advises parents to have a backup plan in the event partial or total closures occur.

The system will be shifting to its COVID-19 Moderate Spread protocols beginning Tuesday, January 11. Masks will be required until community spread decreases to below 200/100,000. All other mitigation protocols remain the same.

The system says parents will continue to be notified of exposure through the Kinvolved communication system.

In addition, the district will be implementing the new CDC guidelines for isolation and quarantine listed below.

  • A person who is positive (vaccinated or unvaccinated) will be required to isolate for 5 days. He/she may return on day 6 as long as he/she is asymptomatic and fever free. The person should also wear a mask for five additional days.
  • A person who is exposed and is unvaccinated is suggested to quarantine for 5 days. It is suggested he/she may return on day 6 as long as he/she is asymptomatic and fever free. The person should also wear a mask for 5 additional days.
  • Any person who is exposed and vaccinated is not required to quarantine, but should wear a mask for 10 days.

The district reminds employees, students, and their families that testing can be completed at the Evans Health and Wellness Center located at Claxton Elementary School. The district will be sending some additional information about testing options on Wednesday, January 12.

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