By Tia Lynn Ivey
Morgan County schools celebrated a milestone last week, with no new cases of COVID-19.
“It’s a first since the school year began,” said Dr. Virgil Cole, superintendent of Morgan County Schools. “We ended last week with no new cases in either students or staff and nobody having to quarantine.”
The downward trend is welcome relief to schools officials, students and family. At the peak of infections in late August, over 20 students and school officials were infected in one week with 165 students and school staff required to quarantine in a single week.
“To see zero last week was great,” said Cole. “But we know we are not out of the woods yet. We have to remain vigilant, especially with winter coming and the flu-season.”
Morgan County Schools also have one of the highest rates of in-person learning among students in the State of Georgia.
“We are up to 88 percent of our students back in the classroom for in-person learning,” said Cole.
At the nine-week mark, primary and elementary school virtual students were given the option to return to in-person learning.
“We had a net gain of 51 students,” said Cole.
Middle and high school virtual students will be given the option to return to in-person classes after winter break in early January.
“We expect we will have a net gain of students returning then as well,” said Cole.
Cole believes the downward trend of active coronavirus cases is due to the planning of school administrators and stellar cooperation among students, families and staff.
“It’s a testament to everyone staying vigilant by social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands,” said Cole. “We know we are in this for the long haul and there are still a lot of unknown going forward.”
Cole believes reopening the schools was the right move despite the challenges posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“People were anxious returning to school, but I think we have crossed a lot of good thresholds. As people have gotten back into the school year, the value of what we do as been so evident to everybody, not just our staff and students, but to the entire community. It has been a good thing for our entire community and reaffirms the critical role we play in the life of our community.”