Several county schools under mask mandate; vaccines offered in January at elementary schools

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, January 11, 2022

As students and faculty returned to schools last week, the Troup County School System felt the effect of the surge caused by Omicron. Faculty and families of the school system were asked to report if they tested positive and were encouraged to stay home if they were sick. In the latest COVID updated posted Friday, 114 students and 18 staff reported having COVID for a total of 138 cases.

Twelve schools currently have a mask mandate, according to Superintendent Brian Shumate. Through a partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health, TCSS is also offering COVID-19 vaccinations to any elementary school students who are interested in receiving one. The first shots will be given out next week, and the second doses will be given out in February. Shumate said a parent or legal guardian must go to the vaccination clinic with their children.

“We’re asking for the parents to be present. We don’t want kids to take a shot and then have either a physical or emotional breakdown,” Shumate said. “Mom or Dad has to be right there with them holding their hand just like when they go to the doctor.”

Shumate said TCSS is not mandating the vaccines, but does want to provide this service to the parents who are interested.

“There’s no pressure. It’s not mandated. It’s a service. And the Department of Public Health is providing the service in partnership with us,” Shumate said.

The vaccine clinics are as follows:

  • Berta Weathersbee Elementary – Jan. 18, 2022 for 1st dose, Feb. 8, 2022 for 2nd dose
  • Callaway Elementary – Jan. 18, 2022 for 1st dose,  Feb. 8, 2022 for 2nd dose
  • Clearview Elementary – Jan. 19, 2022 for 1st dose, Feb. 9, 2022 for  2nd dose
  • Ethel W. Kight Elementary – Jan. 19, 2022 for 1st dose, Feb. 9, 2022 for 2nd dose
  • Franklin Forest Elementary – Jan. 20, 2022 for 1st dose, Feb. 10, 2022 for 2nd dose
  • Hillcrest Elementary – Jan. 24, 2022 for 1st dose, Feb. 15, 2022 for 2nd dose
  • Hogansville Elementary – Jan. 24, 2022 for 1st dose, Feb. 15, 2022 for 2nd dose
  • Hollis Hand Elementary – Jan. 26, 2022 for 1st dose, Feb. 16, 2022 for 2nd dose
  • Long Cane Elementary – Jan. 26, 2022 for 1st dose, Feb. 16, 2022 for 2nd dose
  • Rosemont Elementary – Jan. 27, 2022 for 1st dose, Feb. 17, 2022 for 2nd dose
  • West Point Elementary – Jan. 27, 2022 for 1st dose, Feb. 17, 2022 for 2nd dose

The 12 schools in TCSS currently under a mask mandate are: Callaway Elementary, Clearview Elementary, Franklin Forrest Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary, Hogansville Elementary, Hollis Hand Elementary, Long Cane Elementary, West Point Elementary, Callaway Middle Elementary, Gardner Newman Middle, Hope Academy, and Troup County Career Center. All 12 saw COVID-19 cases equal or surpass 1% of their student population.

Shumate said he encourages parents to continue to monitor their children for symptoms and to keep them home if they are sick. He also encourages parents to report if their children tests positive for COVID.

“We don’t ask for test results. We take their word for it. We’re accepting home tests,” Shumate said. “If your kid has symptoms and you can’t get them in for a test, keep them home, just like any other sickness in school. Don’t go to school where you can spread it. [It’s the] same thing with adults.”