VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Valdosta City Schools (VCS) students will go to full virtual learning out of an abundance of caution for the coronavirus, according to the school system.
Starting Dec. 14, all VCS students will do virtual learning until Dec. 17. Students and staff will be out of school on Dec. 18, as it’s the start of winter break for the district.
The school system said this transition will come after a “significant increase” in COVID-19 numbers since monitoring after the district came back from Thanksgiving break.
“Since Nov. 30, our quarantined numbers have been greater than they have been probably since the inceptions or beginning of the pandemic. So out of an abundance for caution, we just feel like since we are so close to the winter break, that this is an ideal time to move in this direction,” said Dr. William Todd Cason, Valdosta City Schools superintendent.
Cason said they had planned for this scenario and are ready to quickly make the transition.
Cason told WALB that as of Tuesday, 341 students quarantined and about 18-20 faculty and staff are quarantined.
“Most of it is school-based contract tracing. Of course, we’ve had the contraction of the virus, well 100 percent of the time, is happening outside of the school, but as those students are coming into the school and you contract trace then we are having to quarantine because of that exposure,” said Cason.
The schools will be sanitized during the closure.
Virtual meal sites will be offered from Dec. 14-17, from 11 a.m-1 p.m.
The sites will be at:
- Pinevale Elementary
- S.L. Mason Elementary
- W.G. Nunn Elementary
- Valdosta Middle School
Parents are asked to choose the site most convenient and remember they will need student’s name and lunch ID number.
The four locations and the Central Office will also have external internet access points. For anyone without internet access at home, they may bring their device to download school assignments from the parking lot.
“We are encouraging our students and staff members to stay vigilant and continue to practice COVID protocols, wash your hands, wear your masks and of course, try to social distance. We feel like if those things are done, we can try to keep from having to quarantine so many students,” said Cason.
School officials said they hope to be able to return to in-person learning after coming back to school from winter break on January 6, 2021. But officials said that will depend on the status of COVID-19 and the guidance from local, state and national public health officials.