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Despite COVID-19 quarantines, Grady County Schools looks forward to reopening

Posted at 6:21 PM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-02 18:21:21-04

GRADY COUNTY, Ga. )WTXL) — The Grady County School District is less than a week away from reopening on September 8 and teachers there are cranking out creativity when it comes to social distancing, making sure to connect with parents and students in drive-thru open houses just days before the start of school.

"We have never done a drive-thru like this one," said Lindsey Maize, a Grady County Schools teacher. "This is definitely us thinking outside of the box."

That's just one way the district has adjusted to the safety needs that come with an opening during COVID-19.

They've also modified the hours of their school day, holding in-person classes only from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. and are dedicating the last hour for teachers to connect with students virtually.

The modification helps ensure that all teachers are ready to transition to virtual classes if needed as nearly 30 teachers have recently come out of quarantine.

"Last week last, Tuesday we had, I believe it was 32 people that either had COVID or were quarantined," said Kermit Gilliard, the superintendent of Grady County Schools. "The majority of those were quarantined because they have been exposed and the majority of those were at Cairo High School. We had a faculty member that did not realize that they had contracted it I was in a meeting and then that spread and was a reason why we had to quarantine the 32 people."

Since then, 20 of those employees have been cleared from quarantine and the majority of the others are expected to clear before school starts Tuesday.

There were also more than 100 students on quarantine, but all of them have been cleared as well. Maize says despite the challenges, people in her district are ready to get back to learning.

"As a whole though, the teachers are excited, the students are excited, both virtually and face-to-face, to get back in the classroom and get the school year started," Maize said.

Gilliard says he looks forward to students return and has staff at the district office standby in the event they need pitch in to help cover classes.

It's not too late for parents who may prefer their child to attend classes virtually. Digital enrollment will remain open in the district through next Friday.

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