COVID 19 Decision Guide 2021-2022

Madison County Middle School and High School will return to in-person learning Monday, Aug. 30.

School Superintendent Michael Williams released the following letter Friday. He also reported that there were 91 students and 19 staff members positive for covid on Friday morning.

The system has released a “Covid Decision Guide 2021-2022,” which shows when mitigation measures are implemented. The guide, along with weekly updates on the student covid situation, are available at madison.k12.ga.us

Here is Williams’ letter:

Madison County Students, Staff and Parents,

Madison County Charter School System continues to prioritize the education, health, and safety of our students and staff.

As the Superintendent, I have an obligation to implement safety measures to protect our students and staff. I do not take this responsibility lightly. There are individuals who do not support any mitigation strategies such as wearing face coverings or limiting visitors to our buildings. I want all of our children in school. Without a doubt, in-person learning is best for all students and the preferred learning environment. I am the parent of three children in our schools. As a family, we know the impact and are equally as frustrated with the situation our community finds itself in right now. All of our students have been burdened by three disrupted school years. I remain heavy-hearted for the impact this is having on our students, staff, and community. We will continue to work to provide a safe environment striving for outstanding academic excellence. Our schools can only be as strong as our community in the fight against this troubling situation. A partnership among our schools, community, and parents can help us persevere and would serve as a positive role model for our students.

Unfortunately, our schools have experienced an increased spread of COVID positive students and a number of positive staff cases. Our goal is to keep our students in school with in person instruction, but the challenge continues. We are still seeing an increase in the number of Covid cases within our schools. This past week we did not see the same rapid increase or rise (positive cases doubling in three days) as we had last week. The impact of the virus has caused us to reschedule or cancel events and implement additional mitigation strategies. It has also had an impact on our transportation staff, but we are managing at this time.

We made the difficult decision to transition our high school and middle school students to distance learning this past week while elementary schools remained in person. Middle school and high school students along with elementary students will return to campus on Monday, August 30th.

A plan of mitigation strategies based on the percentage of cases at each school has been developed and will be implemented beginning Monday, August 30. This guide provides weekly updates of active cases by school showing the next level of mitigation strategies for implementation. This information will be posted on the school and district websites.

As of Friday, August 27, all schools are designated as Level 2 of this guide for implementing mitigation strategies. If you have questions please contact your child’s teacher, principal or you can call me.

Please know myself and the Board of Education have a desire, just as you, to get through this as soon as possible.

Thank you for your support and understanding during this time.

Michael H. Williams.

General Precautions

•Students or staff who test positive for COVID-19 will continue to follow Department of Public Health guidelines, which require you to stay home for 10 days since symptoms first appeared and be fever-free, without use of fever-reducing medications, for 24 hours before returning to school.

•The school nurse at every school will be designated as the building's COVID-19 point of contact to assist with operations, communications, and health-related issues within the school.

•Those who become sick and have a fever of 100.4 or higher at school or work will be sent home. In this case, any student or employee needing isolation while on campus will be required to wear a mask. If symptoms improve and there is a medical note from a doctor, the student may return the next day or when they are fever free for 24 hours.

•COVID-19 vaccinations are not required for employees or students, the MCCSS

recommends consulting with your primary care physician regarding vaccinations. The Madison County Health Department and many local healthcare providers have COVID-19 vaccines readily available; there are no plans at this time to host COVID-19 vaccination event at Madison County schools or offices.

•Schools may return to their normal operating procedures for lunchtime and class bell schedules, assemblies and field trips may resume. Schools may have special events open to parents and families may resume, and parent volunteers may be permitted to work throughout the school, including in classrooms. Schools will monitor their COVID data and make adjustments as needed.

•Madison County Charter School System will continue to invest in enhanced cleaning and sanitizing at all school locations and will continue to provide surface and hand sanitizer spray to classrooms. These measures, coupled with the significant investment last school year to upgrade ventilation filters and to replace water fountains with water bottle filling stations, appear to have made an improvement in overall student and staff health.

•Staff and students are not required to wear masks in MCCSS schools, offices or transportation at any time, but can choose to wear them. MCCSS will continue to provide face coverings to individuals who might request them. Due to not being able to socially distance on buses, face coverings will be worn.

•Contact tracing and quarantines will be conducted by DPH. The MCCSS will assist the local health department as needed. When principals and or the school nurse are informed of a positive case among students or staff, they will notify guardians of close contacts.

•Quarantined students will have access to their education through our digital learning platform “CANVAS” to access virtual learning. Students will not be penalized for being quarantined and will have ample time to complete assignments. Assessments will not be given to students upon the day of their return

•All attendance rewards (perfect attendance, attendance field trip, and any other

attendance incentives) will be in effect for the 2021-2022 school year.

•Athletic events will be permitted with specific guidelines in place in coordination with GHSA.

Madison County Charter School System will continue to monitor, assess, and evaluate how we can safely implement in-person Instruction. All of the above information is fluid and is dependent upon the spread of the virus in our community. As new data emerges throughout the school year, the structure of schooling may change rapidly and differ from current guidelines.

The Madison County Charter School System community will be informed if any changes become necessary.

Locations

(1) comment

Lizzie Ross

The district has finally communicated with the community what will happen, and when it will happen, but it still has not provided any rationale as to WHY it will happen. What exactly are these "Levels" based on? Have they been developed through consultation with any medial experts, or have Michael Williams and the Board of Education made them up? We have already experienced the potential of the Delta variant to spread exponentially in very short amounts of time, so why is the district choosing to continue to give the virus the chance to do so? They have provided no reasoning, evidence, or data to justify why they are not following the CDC or AAP's recommendations for schools. This plan based on percentages is reactionary rather than proactive, it is not following the advice of medical practitioners, and the students are the ones paying the price. So many people have chosen to make masks the enemy, when the real enemy here is Covid. So instead of doing everything we can to stop Covid, the fight is over wearing a piece of cloth over our mouths and noses. It really is a shame that the administration of our schools has bought into the politicalization of masks at the expense of the safety and well-being of our community and kids.

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