CCSD announces mask requirement when students return

Published 8:01 am Monday, January 3, 2022

The Troup County School System, the Chambers County School District and Lanett City Schools all announced plans last week to return to in-person schooling this week. All three are taking precautions as COVID cases rise across the country.

On social media, CCSD announced Monday that due to the number of reported positive COVID-19 cases in the school system, masks will be required starting on the professional development day on Tuesday, Jan. 4 as well as when students return on Wednesday, Jan. 5.

CCSD said they were following safety protocols recommended by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“We will continue our mask mandate until Chambers County School Districts numbers fall below 9 with the Alabama Department of Public Health School Dashboard,” they said. “Parents are encouraged to report positive student cases to their local school nurse. We also recommend following quarantine guidelines if there is a positive case in your household.”

Lanett City Schools Superintendent Jennifer Boyd said the system will continue to practice the COVID safety and mitigation strategies that have been in place since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. This includes the mask requirement, which the school board voted to continue into the 2021-2022 school year in August of this past year.

“These strategies include a litany of schoolwide and classroom specific procedures, parent and home preventative strategies and safety and wellness measures for all staff and students to follow,” Boyd said.

Boyd posted on social media Friday that Lanett City Schools will transition to remote learning if conditions require it.

“I encourage you to plan ahead of time to ensure a seamless transition for your child should we be forced to shift to remote learning,” she said. “If you missed our previous device distribution dates in the fall and are in need of a device, contact our central office to schedule a pick-up date and time.”

Boyd requested parents to keep sick children home. She asked parents to encourage good hygiene habits such as hand washing.

“I encourage you to remain diligent in your efforts to protect yourselves,” she said. “We will continue to monitor conditions and consult with our local healthcare professionals in the decision-making process. You will be notified of any changes.”

In a press release Monday, TCSS Superintendent Dr. Brian Shumate said that TCSS is keeping track of COVID-19 cases in the school system.

“At this time, we are monitoring every school by student and staff member and assessing those who have tested positive for COVID, who are in quarantine and/or who have extended symptoms due to COVID,” he said.

Masks will continue to be highly recommended.

“However, please remember our 1% rule for positive student cases,” he said. “If a school reaches 1% of their overall student population who have tested positive for COVID, we will require masks again. We have one school at this time which has surpassed that number and will be requiring masks starting tomorrow.”

Shumate said if a school has to require masks, parents will be notified by the principal.

“If we have a critical mass of schools that exceed 1%, we will mandate mask-wearing district-wide,” he said. “If we have a critical mass of COVID positive staff and/or students at a particular school, we may move to all virtual learning at that school for a few days.”

Shumate said 13 of TCSS’s transportation staff are either positive for COVID-19 or in quarantine, so transportation may be affected in the coming days. Routes may be combined, and pick-up and drop-off times may be delayed.

Schools as well as the entire school district are prepared to go fully virtual, Shumate said.

“First, we need for every student to take his/her Chromebooks home each night with exception to some of our youngest students (we will make provisions for Chromebook pick-up if necessary),” he said. “Second, will make provisions for food distribution for both breakfast and lunch. That information will be posted on our website at www.troup.org and sent to you via our SendIt app.”

Shumate said that according to new CDC guidelines, the quarantining period has been reduced from 10 days to five days if someone is exposed to a positive case.

“Please remember that if someone has been vaccinated or boosted within the past six months or was wearing a mask during exposure, quarantining will not be necessary as long as that person is asymptomatic,” he said. “We realize that getting tested for COVID is difficult right now, so please stay home and/or keep your kids home if you or they have any symptoms.”

TCSS highly recommends vaccines and boosters to those who are eligible, Shumate said.

“As we have previously advertised, the TCSS will be hosting vaccination clinics for five to 11-year-olds beginning Jan. 18,” he said. “Letters will be going home this week to sign up.”

The TCSS vaccine schedule is as follows:

Berta Weathersbee Elementary will provide first doses on Jan. 18 and second doses on Feb. 8.

Callaway Elementary will provide first doses on  Jan. 18 and second doses on Feb. 8.

Clearview Elementary will provide first doses on Jan. 19 and second doses on Feb. 9.

Ethel W. Kight Elementary will provide first doses on Jan. 19 and second doses on Feb. 9.

Franklin Forest Elementary will provide first doses on Jan. 20 and second doses on Feb.10.

Hillcrest Elementary will provide first doses on Jan. 24 and second doses on Feb. 15.

Hogansville Elementary will provide first doses on Jan. 24 and second doses on Feb. 15.

Hollis Hand Elementary will provide first doses on Jan. 26 and second doses on Feb. 16.

Long Cane Elementary will provide first doses on Jan. 26 and second doses on Feb. 16.

Rosemont Elementary will provide first doses on Jan. 27 and second doses on Feb. 17.

West Point Elementary will provide first doses on Jan. 27 and second doses on Feb. 17.