Candler County Schools are now in their fourth week of on-campus instruction and their second week of learning from home.
One of the biggest concerns of returning to class was fear of an exponential increase of COVID-19 cases once crowds started gathering in hallways and on campus once again.
On Tuesday morning, Superintendent Bubba Longgrear said that there have been 11 positive COVID cases among students and staff since Aug. 10. That total impacts approximately one-half of one percent of the on-campus population.
What happens when the system learns of a positive diagnosis? “When our nursing team is notified of a positive case, we notify our area epidemiologist with the Southeast Health District as required,” Longgrear said. “Contact tracing is done for any individual that has been in close contact with that ‘positive’ person for more than 15 minutes.”
Approximately 25 percent of the student population has opted for online learning this semester, 267 at Metter Elementary, 151 at Metter Middle and 137 at Metter High/Metter Career Academy.
The online learning has created some challenges, but the system is working through those, Longgrear said.
“Teachers have worked extremely hard to prepare engaging activities for students to participate in via technology,” Longgrear explained. “Obstacles arise in technology, connectivity and audio issues during live instruction.
“Overall, we are fortunate to have the technology capabilities that we do and also the dedicated and capable staff to work through these obstacles to best serve those students choosing learning from home.”
That technology was made possible in large part by the 1:1 Technology Initiative that ensures that each student in grades K-12 has access to a Chromebook.
A combination of QBE Technology and Title I funds were used with the assistance of the Candler County Foundation for Public Education to fund this initiative.
COVID numbers hold steady for 24 hours
Georgia Department of Public Health numbers from 3 p.m. Sunday to 3 p.m. Monday showed a total of 304 confirmed cases - no increase for that 24-hour period.
However, over the past seven days, the case count increased by 2 on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 4 each day on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, six on Saturday and 2 on Sunday.
Grice Connect has posted two additional deaths in Candler County to bring the death count to 11:
• Black Male, 53, no comorbidity.
• Black Male, 70, no comorbidity.