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Banks moves school opening to Aug. 19 for students

The return date for students has been changed to Wednesday, August 19, for Banks County Schools.

This delayed start is not based on COVID-19 spread within the community but is instead to give staff additional time for training.

“We have been in constant communication with state and local health officials monitoring the virus as it relates to our area,” superintendent Ann Hopkins states. “These same health officials are in favor of our safe reopening and support our system’s return-to-school plan. The calendar change is being implemented to allow us to train all staff regarding the new guidelines that we are implementing and to help us prepare for our students based on where we left off in March.”

School leaders will also use this time to prepare for the “online option” that some of the parents have requested.

“Finally, we will use these additional days to make preparations should there be a need to transition in the future from traditional in-person instruction to the online format,” Hopkins said.


The plans in place when schools reopen include the following:

•Temperatures will be taken on an as-needed basis.

Students and staff are to stay home if they have a temperature above 100.3 or any symptoms of illness.

•Students and staff are encouraged to wear masks; however, these will not be mandated.

•The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is responsible for contact tracing and reporting confirmed cases. When possible, the school system will provide notification also.

•At this time, the system will not close for individual confirmed cases. The system will work closely with DPH and follow guidance based on spread of the virus.

•The school system will follow the guidance of DPH regarding the return to school/work expectation in the event someone tests positive or is exposed to some who tests positive.

Trees were down last week on Wrights Mill Road when a storm passed through the county. County workers are shown clearing the road.

Yard of Month recipients recognized in Lula

Yard of Month recipients recognized in Lula for July were named at last week’s city council meeting.

They are: Bradley Chandler, District 1; Tammy Dove, District 2; Matthew Baisely, District 3; Emanuel Greenwell, District 4; and Ibrahim Alkindi, District 5.

In other business at the July 20 meeting, the city council:

•agreed to ask the planning commission to look at guidelines for an overlay district, with suggestions for setbacks, signage, parking lot design and related issues.

•asked the city attorney to review the amendments to the employee policy related to Covid-19.

•agreed to continue credits for on-line payments and money orders through August.

•learned that the motive pump replacement and mixer came in Friday and would be installed.

•agreed to reduce depot rentals 50 percent through October and rent on a first-come, first-served basis. The capacity in the depot has been reduced due to COVID-19 concerns.

•heard a plea from the mayor for residents to complete their Census information. The deadline to do so has been expended.

Head Start, Pre-K taking applications

Banks County Head Start/Pre-K will continue taking applications for the 2020-2021 school year via the website,

This is only a pre-application; completion of this does not guarantee that a child has been accepted, selected, or that they will be given a slot, leaders state. Families will be contacted by the center to complete the application process.

"The program provides children with a learning environment and varied experiences which will help them develop socially, physically, intellectually, and emotionally in a manner which is appropriate for their age and stage of development," leaders state. "The educational program includes experiences designed to meet the individual differences and needs of participating children."

A nutritious breakfast and lunch are served.

The center does not provide transportation.


Enrollment status is based on income eligibility.

Children must turn 3 or 4 years of age on or before September 1, 2020.

Requirements are:

•Proof of child’s age

•Proof of household income

•Child’s insurance card (if available)


Enrollment status is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Children must turn 4 years of age on or before September 1, 2020.


•Proof of child’s age

•Proof of Residency (utility bill, etc.)

•Social Security Card (if available)

•Child’s insurance card (if available)

Contact Jan Bertrang (Center Director), Shelia Mullins (Family Partner), or Donna Burdette (Family Partner) at 706-677-2963 for more information.

Early voting to be held through Aug. 7 for run-off election

Early voting will be held through Friday, Aug. 7, for the run-off election.

One local race will be on the run-off ballot — the District 4 seat on the Banks County Board of Commissioners. In that race, Keith Gardiner and William Reems will be on the ballot.

Early voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the Elections Office, located at 226 Candler Street, Homer.

There will be two other run-off races on the Aug. 11 ballot:

•In the crowded Republican District 9 race for Congress, Matt Gurtler is headed for a runoff with Andrew Clyde. The winner will face the winner of a Democratic runoff between Brooke Siskin and Devin Pandy.

•In the contest for State Senate District 50, there will be a runoff between Bo Hatchett and Stacey Hall for the Republican nomination. The winner will face Democrat Dee Delany in the November General Election.

Election Day voting to be held at Recreation Dept. Gym

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, all election day voting, August 11, will be held at the Banks County Recreation Gym, 607 Thompson Street, Homer.

Farmer's Market offered in Homer on Saturdays

The Farmers Market in Downtown Homer is now open on Saturdays.

Local farmers are urged to come to Homer on Saturday mornings until noon and sell their produce.

This is a free service that everyone is invited to participate in, organizers state.