Rural Georgia counties preparing for back to school

Students will be heading back to school in several other school districts in the coming days.
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 6:41 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Students go back to school in just a few days for some students in the Chattahoochee Valley, and school officials are busy making sure they will be safe when they return, especially when it comes to COVID.

Recent incidents on the other side of the country are prompting them to be proactive and not get left behind.

On Monday, summer break ends for Randolph County students.

School leaders tell News Leader 9 they didn’t spend the break soaking up the sun but instead preparing to keep their child safe from dangers seen and unseen.

Outside of their usual responsibilities, Randolph County schools have two points of emphasis this school year, COVID and security.

Michael Coley, the Director of Operations for Randolph County Schools, said the district recently enlisted the help of agencies like Homeland Security, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, and local law enforcement.

The district of about 800 students has created plans for all their schools in case something like the school shooting incident in Uvalde, Texas, comes to their doorstep.

“The hot thing now is what happened in Uvalde, and it kind of brings a sense of surreal that things can happen,” said Coley. “If you see something, say something. One of the things we are pushing to our faculty and staff we can’t leave doors unsecured. We realize we have a lot of exterior doors. If that situation were to occur, we would be prepared for it.”

Although Coley did not want to give too much away, he did say the planning has improved communication between the faculty and staff.

COVID also finds itself at the top of the list for the school district.

Superintendent Dr. Tangela Madge said their hands are tied and can not require students to mask up. Still, they are making hand sanitizer available in hallways and keeping humidifiers in classrooms.

“We know the virus is out there. We that there’s an uptick. We’ll most definitely be following Georgia law when it comes to wearing face masks. We will allow parents to make that decision. However, we will let parents know that there is an increase in the virus, but it is totally up to them. “, said Madge.

We also checked in with the Stewart County School district. Superintendent Mike Robinson said masks would be required for students and staff, but there will be an opportunity to opt-out. Regarding security, he said students must carry a clear or mesh bookbag.

Students will be heading back to school in several other school districts in the coming days. For the complete list of start dates in our area, click here.

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