Local schools prepare for in-person return as COVID-19 begins to surge

Published 11:00 am Friday, December 31, 2021

With COVID cases rising across the United States, parents may be wondering if their kids will return to school in person after the winter break, as opposed to returning virtually

Jennifer Boyd, superintendent of Lanett City Schools, said Lanett City Schools doesn’t plan to go virtual.

“We anticipate that students will be able to return to the traditional face-to-face learning environment on Jan. 4 as scheduled,” she said. “However, we will continue to monitor local and state COVID-related data and consult with healthcare professionals in the decision-making process and make changes to our safety protocol as necessary. Stakeholders will be notified of any changes.”

Superintendent Casey Chambley of the Chambers County School District also said his school system doesn’t plan to go virtual.

“As always, we continue to monitor the situation,” he said. “However, at this point, we have no evidence of increas[ing] student or teacher positivity rates. With that said, I’m sure some of that is due to us being on break and parents possibly not testing or not reporting because we are not in school.”

Chambley said (on Wednesday) that it will be a week before students return to school.

“We know things can change a lot in a week,” he said. “As we get closer to the 5th, we will have a better understanding.”

Irisha Goodman, director of public relations of the Troup County School System, said that the TCSS plans to return to in-person classes.

On Dec. 17, the CCSD reported that for the week ending on that date, there were two new student quarantines due to family members testing positive for COVID-19.

The ADPH K-12 COVID-19 School Dashboard says that Lanett City Schools had fewer than five cases during the week leading to Dec. 16.

The Valley Times-News wasn’t able to obtain COVID-19 numbers for the TCSS.

According to a December report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, COVID-19 cases among children in the United States are “extremely high and increasing.” It states that for the week ending on Dec. 23, almost 199,000 cases of COVID-19 in children were reported, which is a 50% increase over the weekly new cases at the beginning of the month.

“Over 7.5 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, representing 1 in 10 US children,” it says. “For the 20th week in a row child COVID-19 cases are above 100,000. Since the first week of September, there have been over 2.5 million additional child cases.”