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COVID outbreak forces Talbot County school system to shut down again

TALBOT COUNTY, Georgia (WRBL) – The Talbot County school system had to close due to COVID-19 for the third time this school year. The school system was due to open after the Wednesday January 5 holidays but had to push back the date due to the number of positive cases.

Dr. James Catrett, Talbot County Schools Superintendent, said despite his frustration at not being able to welcome students back, he needed to look at the numbers and make a decision to help stop the spread of the virus.

“We were prepared for this. Now nobody likes it, we all prefer to be here at school, but again we have to be careful of our community and our children,” Dr Catrett said.

There are a total of 10 positive cases at Central Elementary and High School, three staff members and seven students. There are more positive cases during this shutdown than in September, the last time the school system closed due to COVID-19.

Students and teachers continued their curriculum through Microsoft Teams and packet-based learning. Students also receive breakfast and lunch on days when schools are not open.

Jonathan Taylor, principal of Central Elementary and High School, said the most frustrating part of having to close the doors is not having students learn in person, because he believes students learn best with hands-on instruction.

“You are trying to do everything you can to keep students, faculty and staff safe and to maintain the learning that was going on before our release. It can be frustrating, but the whole world is dealing with this, so we’re not the only ones in this situation, so we’re trying to make the best of it,” Taylor said.

Taylor also said he hopes to bring students back for in-person learning when it’s safe to do so, but overall he wants to continue the program virtually so students can continue learning at home.

The school system will make a decision by the end of the week on whether students will be allowed to resume in-person learning on Monday, January 10.

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