The Barrow County School System will be implementing a home learning model as it is set to close its schools for at least the next two weeks in response to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic and in efforts to limit the spread.

There were still no reported cases in Barrow County as of Friday, March 13, but local health and emergency officials have said it is inevitable the virus will make its way here.

Superintendent Chris McMichael announced Thursday, March 12, that schools would be closed March 16-27 and the tentative plan is to reopen them Monday, March 30. All extra-curricular activities, including high school sports will be canceled during that timeframe. SAT testing was still scheduled to be held on Saturday, March 14. Parents and guardians who need to pick up their children’s medication may come to their school Monday or Tuesday, March 16-17, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Under “Learning from Home,” the district has compiled learning activities, and teachers across all grade levels are creating and implementing online learning, according to a news release issued Friday.

There are separate activities by grade level. Go to for complete details and links.

“If your family does not have internet access, please call your school on Monday or Tuesday to talk to your principal about alternate plans,” McMichael said.

The district will use its website as the central location for all information about the school closure.

Spring break remains scheduled for April 6-10 and will not be canceled or rescheduled, McMichael said.

Buildings and buses will receive “deep cleanings” during the closure, McMichael said. Also, teachers will be working home and available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on week days to respond to parent and student emails. School counselors will also be available via email. Special education teachers and support staff are developing plans to continue to offer services to students, and more details will be provided to those students’ families on an individual basis.

Also, the system’s nutrition department will be providing meals at Apalachee and Winder-Barrow high schools with a “drive-in” set-up at each school. Any person under the age of 18 may come week days between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a bagged meal, which will include a hot breakfast and deli-type lunch, according to the release. Menus will be posted on the district’s website.

“Our district leadership is working hard to make important decisions that impact our families and staff,” McMichael said. “We will continue to diligently implement our pandemic plan throughout next week. We are evaluating our testing schedules, the school calendar, and other important items related to instruction and operations.

“We appreciate your patience as we work through these fluid and complicated matters. We will provide updates on all items as soon as possible on our website.”

Any parent who been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or who has a child that has is asked to call the district at 678-425-2827 or email


The Northeast Georgia Health System, which includes Northeast Georgia Medical Center Barrow, announced Friday it is limiting visitation to patients at all of its campuses.

Limitations and restrictions will vary by unit, based on patient needs, according to a news release.

•Emergency department, inpatient rooms, and labor and delivery will be limited to one visitor per room and the visitor must be at least 12 years old. 

•Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) are restricted to only the baby’s mother and the other NICU wristband holder.

•No visitors will be allowed into the intensive care unit (ICU), except for end-of-life-care. 

Certain exceptions may be made to these policies on a case-by-case basis, according to the release. Additionally, visitors who are feeling sick at all are asked to stay home and seek medical attention. 

For more coronavirus information, go to


The Barrow County Food Pantry will still hold its monthly food distribution day to people in need at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 26, though the procedures will be modified.

The event will be held at Holly Hill Mall, across from Hill’s Ace Hardware, 186 West Athens St., Winder.

Clients are

asked not to come before 7:30 a.m. and to stay in their vehicles. Vehicles will be lined up and food will be placed into cars.  Clients are asked to have their trunks cleaned out so food can quickly be put the food in. They are also asked not to smoke.

The event is sponsored by the Winder Noon Lions Club and White Oak Spring Missionary Baptist Church and is open to all Barrow County residents who meet USDA income-eligibility requirements.

Proof of county residency is required. Food will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

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