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BOE updates quarantine practices

The Emanuel County Board of Education held its August meeting last Tuesday evening. The highlight of the meeting included a discussion about the district’s quarantine protocol.

As it stands, the following is the latest on Emanuel County Schools’ website regarding COVID-19 safety precautions:

• The district’s goal is to keep students, staff, and families as safe as possible.

• The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the wearing of masks by all citizens to continue to help reduce the spread of COVID. The Emanuel County School System continues to follow the CDC guidelines regarding the recommendations for wearing masks. However, at this time, ECS has not issued mandated precautionary quarantines to asymptomatic students or staff for close contact at school with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Nurses/designees will monitor exposed students and staff members daily for signs of symptoms during their exposure window. Parents may choose to quarantine in these instances.

• When principals and/or nurses are informed of a positive case among students or staff, any affected staff and parents/guardians will be notified of the positive case. It is important to monitor for symptoms, but no precautionary quarantines for students or staff members will be required.

• Students or staff who test positive for COVID-19 will continue to follow CDC and Georgia Department of Health (DPH) guidelines, which require staying at home for 10 days after symptoms first appeared and until becoming fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medications, for 24 hours before returning to work or school.

• The Emanuel County School System will continue to follow CDC guidelines regarding the wearing of masks, which is strongly recommended while inside any and all ECS facilities. Masks are still required on district buses.

• Most importantly, these guidelines are fluid and subject to change as further guidance is received from the CDC and the Georgia DPH.

Prior to Tuesday night’s discussion, the district informed parents and guardians about exposure and mandated a negative test before the exposed person could return to the premises.

Another highlight from the meeting was the hiring of more than 20 individuals. Among the new employees are teacher Daniel Overstreet; substitute teachers Alicea Carlos, Peggy Allen, Timothy Bennett, Sharon Edenfield, Robert C. Ellison, Brinnie Lewis, and Ronda Opolka; substitute food service workers Heather Carmichael, Shana Collins, Andrew Fulmer, Naomi Hackett, Susan Lewis, April Purvis, Shauntrice Roberts, and Michele Smith; school food service assistants Latisha Hunt and Janie Trull; paraprofessionals Rose Frew and Ashley Landon; and, finally, nurse Tara Green.

Payroll specialist Curtia Collins, clerk Sarah Smith, and nurse Lisa Youngblood all resigned.

Additionally, Kristie Johnson was transferred within the system.

All of these personnel changes were discussed in executive session and made official by unanimous vote upon returning back to open session.

In other news, the board approved the consent agenda without opposition. Included in this particular business matter were the minutes from the BOE’s regular meeting on June 8, the financial reports, the district’s CSRA RESA Membership Contract for FY22, the FY22 CTAE budget and programs, and the application for Swainsboro Middle School’s new roof.

On a related note about Swainsboro Middle School, board members and Superintendent Scotty Hattaway heard an update on the renovations that had taken place at that institution. The presentation also included a slideshow. (A full report and spread of photos detailing this ESPLOST project appeared in the August 11 edition of The Crossroads Chronicle.) The project is expected to be finalized by the end of next month.

Hattaway, during his superintendent’s comments, spoke about the modification of Policy GAE, the Georgia Lt. Governor’s 2021 Business & Education Summit to take place in October, and GSBA Strategic Planning. He also gave the floor to Dr. Susan Rutherford, Student Services Director for ECS, to give a presentation on federal regulations for service animals.

There being no further business, the board of ed adjourned.

All members of the BOE were present for the meeting, which began at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Office.

The Emanuel County Board of Education will next meet September 14 at the same time and location.

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