COVID-19

UPDATE, 10:09 p.m., March 14

The Observer has become aware of two other changes due to caution over coronavirus.

• Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine — all campuses, including PCOM South Georgia — will be moving to a virtual instruction model and a remote work model, where possible starting Monday, March 16.

• The Alzheimer's Caregiver Support Group will not meet this month. It's usually held 1-2 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month, which would be March 19.

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UPDATE, 5:03 p.m. March 14

MOULTRIE, Ga. — Despite the cancellation of many other events, Moultrie's first Second Saturday festival is expected to go on as planned tonight.

Stores are open in downtown Moultrie until 7 p.m.

The Americana band Jackson County Line is scheduled to begin performing at 7 p.m.

Although no cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the new coronavirus — have been reported in Colquitt County, many local organizations are following the suggestions of Gov. Brian Kemp and the state Department of Public Health to close venues or cancel events that might attract crowds of people. A list of closures and cancellations appears below.

In addition, two other events have announced postponements:

• NAMI Moultrie will not hold a movie night planned for Tuesday at the Colquitt County Arts Center.

• MADD South Georgia is postponing its awards banquet, which was planned for March 20 at the Colquitt County Ag Center.

If you know of other events that are canceled or offices/venues that are closed, please contact The Moultrie Observer at moultrie.observer@gaflnews.com.

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6:22 p.m., March 13

MOULTRIE, Ga. — The Colquitt County School System announced Friday morning that classes will be canceled March 16-27 to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

They are one of a number of local organizations that have canceled events where large groups of people would be expected to gather. Since the virus is believed to spread through droplets that are coughed or sneezed, such gatherings offer a rich opportunity for the virus to spread.

“Making the decision to close schools is never an easy one,” Colquitt County School Superintendent Doug Howell said in a statement to parents. “However, given the uncertainty of the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19, we know this is the best plan of action for protecting our students, staff and faculty members. 

“The school closures include all school building activities, extracurricular activities, athletics, and trips. During this time, no students should report to any office or school in the Colquitt County School System. However, some essential staff may be asked to work, and those staff members will be directed by their supervisor.”

Southern Regional Technical College

Southern Regional Technical College has also closed all campuses as of the close of business on Friday, March 13.

At this time, the college is not aware of any presumptive or confirmed cases at any of its campus locations, Marketing Specialist Carrie Viohl said by email. However, to ensure the health and safety of the Southern Regional Technical College community, all SRTC locations and sites (including online students and courses) will be closed Monday, March 16, through April 3. 

“The SRTC administrative team has decided to move our scheduled Spring Break from the week of April 6 to the week of March 30,” Viohl said. Additionally,all college-related travel has been suspended for faculty and staff.”

All faculty and staff are expected to report Monday for a briefing, further clarification, and to be included in the decision-making process as it relates to their department or program, she said.

ABAC in Moultrie

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton announced Thursday that it would cancel classes March 16-27.

The announcement notes that while students will not be attending class, the college will still be open for business.

“Students should monitor the ABAC website and their Stallion email accounts during this two-week period for detailed information about their return to campus and classes,” the announcement states.

The announcement did not specifically name ABAC in Moultrie, but it is assumed to include all of the college’s satellite campuses.

Canceled events

Two of Colquitt County’s premier spring events have also been canceled, according to announcements from their organizers Friday.

Moultrie Federated Guild has cancelled its 63rd Annual Antique Show, which was scheduled for March 20 and 21.

“We recognize that this cancellation will create challenges for our vendors, but we also recognize our responsibility to protect the health of visitors, vendors and the general public,” a guild spokeswoman said. “We hope you will join us next year at our Vintage Market Show. We appreciate your support and understanding of this decision and wish you good health in the coming days.”

The Calico Spring Arts and Crafts Show has also cancelled its March 21 and 22 event. 

“Our first priority will always be the health and well-being of our vendors, visitors and staff members,” said an email from Chip Blalock, executive director of the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition, which hosts the show.

Other cancellations include:

  • The Colquitt County Arts Center has suspended all programming and will be closing to the public from March 16 to March 27.
  • The school system has postponed the showing of “Suicide: The Ripple Effect,” which was planned for Monday at Withers Auditorium.
  • The Moultrie-Colquitt County Parks and Recreation Authority suspended all athletic and recreation programs Friday, March 13, through Sunday, March 29. All ball fields, tennis courts, gyms, pools, parks and offices will be closed to the public.
  • The Southern Circuit of Superior Court has suspended all grand jury sessions and jury trials in the circuit, which includes Colquitt, Lowndes, Brooks, Echols and Thomas counties, for 30 days, according to a statement released Friday by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office to the Valdosta Daily Times.

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