UPDATED 3/13/2020 - 3 P.M. - Habersham Co. - Numerous local schools are closing their doors for a week or two after Governor Brian Kemp’s “call to action” amid Coronavirus talk.
During a press conference Wednesday night, March 12, Kemp states that there were 31 confirmed and presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in 12 counties throughout Georgia.
“If you feel that it is prudent, you should consider closing daycares, schools or school districts as early as tomorrow through the next two weeks,” Kemp says. “County and local governments should consider what closures might be appropriate that do not affect essential services.”
Kemp goes on to say, “I want to emphasize, this is not a mandate.”
The University System of Georgia went on to announce that, “Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all University System of Georgia institutions will temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks to allow time for USG institutions to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia.”
Local educational institutions to shut down
Habersham County School System announced that all schools will be closed beginning Monday, March 16, until Friday, March 27.
“Closing schools for a period of time is a proactive measure to prevent the Coronavirus from entering our schools and from spreading in our community,” says Superintendent Matthew Cooper. Parents will then be notified if the closings need to be extended.
The “Learning from home plan” will begin for students on Tuesday, March 17. Schools will share with parents specific information regarding the plan by Monday afternoon.
North Georgia Technical College announced that the college has “made the decision to suspend classes and activities on all campuses until March 20, 2020.” Faculty and staff will be on campus next week. Dorm students will be allowed to stay in dorms and meals will be provided.
Piedmont College announced that it has extended spring break for a week and is moving all classroom instruction online beginning March 23 until further notice. “All other normal operations will continue, and the campus will remain open. Staff will continue reporting to work,” according to the release.
Truett McConnell University announced today, March 13, that "TMU will be closed for two weeks beginning Friday, March 13, at 5 PM." Classes will resume residentially on Monday, March 30. Housing will reopen on Sunday, March 29, for residential students. March 16 – 20 will be considered Truett McConnell’s Easter break. March 23 – 27 will begin a regularly scheduled class week. All classes will be accessed from the online classroom. April 6 – 10 classes will meet on campus unless further changes are made. All TMU activities, including athletics, will be canceled until April 1. All TMU admissions activities, including preview days, private tours, and WinShape Preview Day, will continue as normal. All facilities including Carol Anne’s Café, Georgia Public House, and the Student Wellness Center will be closed to the public for the two-week period.
Tallulah Falls School announced March 13 that they will be suspending on-campus classes at the end of the academic day, Friday, March 13, 2020. On-campus classes are set to resume on Tuesday, April 14. Students will continue their academic classes through the use of online learning opportunities provided through the Google platform. Teachers and IT staff members will be working with them today to facilitate the transition to online learning. Online classes will begin on Wednesday, March 18. Information about the TFS online learning protocol will be communicated Monday, March 16 from the academic deans.
Other local school closings
The following school systems will be closed for one week, beginning March 16 until March 20.
• Hall County
• White County
• Clarke County
• Lumpkin County (followed by spring break until April 10)
- Rabun County
The following school systems will be closed beginning March 16 until March 27.
• Banks County
• Barrow County
• Clayton County
• Cobb County
• Gainesville City Schools
The best prevention measures for all ages against any respiratory virus are:
• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds
• If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you have recently traveled to areas where there are ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 and develop a fever with cough and shortness of breath within 14 days of your travel, or if you have had contact with someone who is suspected to have COVID-19, stay home and call your health care provider or local health department right away. Be sure to call before going to a doctor’s office, emergency room, or urgent care center and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.