Union County Primary must close due to Covid-19 outbreak

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Union County Primary

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Union County Primary School will close its building for a week beginning August 23 due to a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases.

A letter from Principal Shane Womack outlined the current situation among staff and students.

“We currently have 20.18 percent (22) staff absent, 3.18 percent (24) student positives, and 11.85 percent (85) students quarantines.”

The positive case rate and quarantine situations resulted in a struggle to keep the school open. There aren’t enough teachers and substitutes available.

For the week of August 23 through 27, Union County Primary will use online learning and classroom packets depending on the grade level. First and second graders will be online using Google Classrooms. If the student doesn’t have access to the internet, parents and guardians can stop by the Primary’s front office on Monday, August 23, to pick up a hot spot.

Pre-K and kindergarten will use the printed learning packet given to parents in the communication folder.
Parents are asked to monitor their children for COVID-19 symptoms.

See Principal Womack’s entire letter below:

Union County Schools (UCS) returned for the 2021-2022 year last week. Union County has been experiencing a significant spike in cases since the beginning of August.

School systems across North Georgia are feeling the effects of the Delta Variant. Gilmer County issued a mask mandate on Thursday, August 19, and Towns County Elementary closed for a week because of an outbreak.

Governor Brian Kemp stated earlier this week that he’s letting local school systems make their own decisions regarding masks and COVID-19 prevention.

Department of Public Health will be releasing new school-age data numbers today, indicating spread within children. In the August 13 report, the Union County cases in the 5-17 age range were marked as high transmission and increasing. Over a 14-day period, DPH recorded nine new cases for the age group. They gathered the data before children returned to school.

Union County Schools COVID-19 Protocols

The COVID-19 protocol as of Friday, August 20 highly encourages masks for students and staff to mitigate spread.

Positive students must quarantine for ten days and may return to school after symptoms end or 24 hours without a fever or fever-reducing medicine. Any student within a 6-foot radius of a positive case will receive a courtesy call and asked to self-monitor.

Potentially exposed employees can still work under the essential worker status. If they exhibit any COVID-19 related symptoms, they must inform their supervisor, and essential worker status will be revoked. These individuals must quarantine for ten days from the onset of symptoms.

These employees must wear a medical or N95 mask at all times aside from eating, drinking. They must also visit the school nurse for morning and midday symptom screenings. Meals will be eaten in an isolated setting.

UCS is making use of seating charts in classrooms to help identify potential exposures and quarantines. Teachers will sanitize their classrooms at least twice a week during mid-day. However, they can clean as much as they see fit. The custodial staff is disinfecting the buildings after school.

FYN will update this story as more information becomes available.

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