MOULTRIE, Ga. — Within the past month Colquitt County School District has decreased the number of COVID-19 positive students and staff. 

The county releases weekly reports that include total population, COVID positive individuals and quarantined individuals. All categories are broken down to show both student and staff statistics. 

Since the week of Jan. 11 to the most recent report of the week of Feb. 12, the number of positive staff and students has decreased from 63 to 42. Colquitt County Superintendent James Doug Howell said this is part of an “overall trend.”

“The numbers have been falling everywhere, especially here in Georgia,” Howell said. “We are working with the Department of Public Health and following the guidelines set out by the CDC to keep our staff and students as safe as possible.” 

Howell said that everybody from health officials to school nurses helps to establish contact tracing information for all positive students and staff.

“If any positive student or staff is within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes of other students, the DPH, the school nurses, and other health officials work to see where they may have contracted it and where they might have spread it,” he said. 

These efforts have led to some of the highest numbers in school related quarantine efforts. As of the Feb. 12 report, 519 students and 19 staff members are currently on school related quarantine. 

School related quarantines refer to individuals who have been in contact with a COVID positive person within a school. Students still have access to their assignments during this time through online education.

According to a revised Reopening Plan published by the school system, any quarantined individual whether positive or negative must complete a ten-day isolation period in efforts to keep further contact at a minimum. 

Confirmed COVID individuals can return to school after a minimum ten-day isolation if they’ve been symptom-free for 24 hours or more. These quarantines along with the federal and county health and safety guidelines have been a pivotal factor in the decreased positive cases, Howell said. 

These guidelines are outlined in the schools’ reopening plan. They include:

  • Hand sanitizer available in every classroom, office, bus, etc. Staff and students may also bring their own.
  • Schools and buses will be cleaned regularly.
  • Social distancing will be followed when feasible and physically possible. This includes spreading out desks in classrooms, lunch tables and during physical education.
  • Masks are encouraged but not required.

Howell stated that all these factors are helping keep the kids and staff as safe as possible,

“We are all working together and we’re going to keep working,” he said.

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