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TCSS going all virtual first week following Christmas break

The Troup County School System is changing its schedule after the new year, hoping that an extra week away will help alleviate any COVID-19 spike that might occur.

Superintendent Brian Shumate announced at Monday’s school board work session that TCSS is going to be all-virtual the first week after Christmas break. Classes will still resume as scheduled on Jan. 5, but they’ll be in a virtual format from Jan. 5-Jan. 8 instead of in-person. Teachers will still report back on Jan. 4 for a professional learning day.

Students who have chosen in-person instruction would return to the classroom on Jan. 11. The extended break would keep students away from the traditional classroom for 17 days.

Although it is Shumate’s decision, the board was in agreement with the schedule change.

Shumate said the hope is to avoid a spike like TCSS is currently experiencing following the Thanksgiving holiday. As of Friday, TCSS’s COVID-19 cases and total number of people in quarantine (students and employees) had reached new highs.

As of Friday, 43 students and 11 employees had a positive case of COVID-19 and 677 students and 50 employees were in quarantine.

“When we walk back in the door, we think we can have a chance to be more successful in January if we take four days off,” Shumate said.

Shumate said he’s also encouraging all families to be careful over holiday break and to follow healthcare guidelines to prevent spread of the illness.

“We encourage all families to make decisions that are going to keep their family the safest, which means small gatherings,” he said.

TCSS is currently in its final week of school before winter break, but with cases spiking, Shumate said he’s watching the numbers carefully. He said TCSS is closely monitoring a concerning number of cases at several schools, including all three high schools and Long Cane Middle School.

“We are monitoring it day by day,” he said.