On behalf of the Superintendent, this message is to provide you with updated information about coronavirus COVID-19 and Cherokee County School District’s ongoing preparations.
As of today, Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) officials state there still are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Cherokee County residents or among any CCSD students or staff. The only confirmed cases in Georgia are two Fulton County residents. One of the Fulton County cases, as we shared with you Wednesday, was a student who attended classes at the Living Science Home Studies private co-op school for home schoolers located in Cherokee County.
This diagnosed student also had contact with a second home school co-op in Cherokee called Compass Prep. Some students who attend classes at Living Science and Compass Prep have siblings who attend CCSD schools. Both of the co-ops have closed temporarily. DPH has asked the parents of the co-op students in classes with the diagnosed student to self-quarantine in an abundance of caution. We’re communicating daily with DPH officials, and they are not recommending any CCSD school closures at this time.
As we shared with you Wednesday, there are Cherokee County residents who have opted to self-quarantine following recent travel abroad. We are aware that some of those residents have family members who are students or staff at CCSD schools; they have reported to us that they are self-quarantining as a preventive measure.
False rumors began circulating today that an Etowah High School student had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Please be advised that we have confirmed with DPH officials that the rumor is false. This student has been diagnosed with a common coronavirus, which causes mild to moderate symptoms similar to a cold and is not the same as COVID-19. Common coronaviruses are circulating in communities at all times, and most people are infected with this virus at some time in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is likely there will be more rumors confusing the two illnesses, and we do not plan to send you a message about every unfounded rumor, but please know that should there be a COVID-19 diagnosis among our students and/or staff, you would be notified immediately.
We have taken additional steps to reduce possible COVID-19 cases, including setting the following guidelines:
ABSENCES: Students who provide written documentation from their healthcare provider advising them to stay home from school due to COVID-19 will be medically excused without academic penalty in accordance with School Board Policy JBD. Families of these students should contact their school’s front office for additional guidance. Employees not reporting to work due to COVID-19 will provide written documentation from their healthcare provider, and use of sick leave and access to the sick leave bank, if a participant, will be permitted in accordance with School Board Policy GBRI.
ENROLLMENT: Prior to enrolling, new families to CCSD from countries with travel advisories for COVID-19 issued by the CDC are asked to refrain from coming to the school and to instead call in advance for instructions. CCSD will work with DPH to determine appropriate registration and attendance plans.
FACILITIES: Custodians are using products confirmed by the manufacturer to kill viruses and are focused on ensuring schools are cleaned and well-stocked with soap and paper towels. If warranted, additional custodial staff will be deployed to assist. If there is a specific issue at your child’s school, please contact the school’s front office.
FIELD TRIPS: Our Curriculum & Instruction staff that oversees field trips is in communications with our travel planners and monitoring travel advisories to ensure we take necessary precautions. We will not hesitate to cancel a trip should it be deemed necessary and would work with families to pursue refunds. Students, employees and chaperones who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms will not be permitted to participate in field trips and we would work with families to pursue refunds.
REPORTING TRAVEL: Parents/guardians of CCSD students and CCSD employees should inform DPH if anyone in their household has traveled to areas with travel advisories for COVID-19 issued by the CDC. Upon notification by DPH, schools will work with DPH to determine the appropriate action regarding re-entry of those children and employees into the school.
These guidelines will be continuously reviewed and expanded as needed and updated on this webpage.
We are committed to transparency and will alert you immediately if we are informed by DPH of any confirmed COVID-19 cases among our students and/or staff.
Barbara P. Jacoby
Chief Communications Officer
Cherokee County School District