Local school districts continue enforcing COVID-19 safety protocol as spring break nears

Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 11:46 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - One year after the spread of the coronavirus was declared a pandemic in the U.S., numbers are starting to look better.

COVID-19 infections are down across the country following the post-holiday surge and vaccinations are being administered.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still recommending that people not travel as spring break approaches. The CDC advises delaying travel with concerns over a more contagious COVID-19 variant that’s widespread in several states including Florida, a popular vacation spot for people in the Chattahoochee Valley.

Spring break for area school districts including Muscogee, Harris and Chattahoochee counties is the week of March 29. Local school districts are continuing to reinforce safety protocols they’ve had over the past year; whether you’re traveling for spring break or not.

“In terms of whether it’s spring break or just as we finish out the remainder of this year, we’ve worked so hard and come so far. Let’s just not let our guards down,” said Kristie Brooks, Chattahoochee County Superintendent.

Brooks says most students are learning in the classroom with about 15 percent of students opting for virtual learning.

“Having the opportunity to have this break is very good for our folks and I know they’re looking forward to it; our students as well as our employees. But again, we’re going to continue to see our folks doing the things that they’ve been doing. They’ve had such good practice this year at school, at home on the weekend, and just continuing that during the course of the break,” she explained.

Tracy Fox, director of risk Management for the Muscogee County School District (MCSD) reiterates the importance of parents reporting COVID-19 exposures.

“If there is an exposure in the household, just to know that the student does need to quarantine for 14 days, report the exposure or the positive case to the school so we can make some next steps to continue that education,” said Fox.

Fox says keeping up with the MCSD’s self-assessment for COVID-19 is another important tool that helps parents understand protocols and know what to look for in order to continue in-person learning by helping keep the spread of the virus down in schools. For those thinking about traveling for spring break, Fox shares a consideration for parents.

“Viewing the CDC or the Department of Public Health in that local location can help to determine what the spread looks like in that community,” she said.

Even though some may have already gotten their COVID-19 vaccines, Shelia Baker with the Harris County School District (HCSD) says it’s still important to follow the public health guidance.

“Everyone is in the midst of now wanting to get back to a sense of normalcy, but it is important to have this break, but it’s also really important that we remember that we are still in the midst of a very serious pandemic,” explained Baker, HCSD’s assistant superintendent of support services.

HCSD will be offering free meals for any student in their district or community who is up to 18 years old who would like a meal while the district is out of school for spring break. This will cover seven days of breakfast and lunch. The meal distributions will take place Friday, March 26. Baker says they will be sending out flyers with registration information and locations to parents ahead of time. According to Baker, they have not done this in past year’s, but have been doing this for school holidays during the pandemic.

Columbus State University has eliminated spring break this year since it extended winter break due to COVID-19 concerns. Auburn University will also not be holding a traditional week-long spring break with the coronavirus impacting its schedule.

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