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Southwest Georgia schools are heading back for the new year. Here’s how COVID is affecting the return for some.

COVID-19 and Southwest Georgia schools and colleges.
COVID-19 and Southwest Georgia schools and colleges.(Source: WALB)
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 11:45 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2022 at 11:53 AM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - As schools and colleges head back for the new year, a number of them are altering plans amid a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Here are the schools that are altering their plans because of COVID-19. The school systems and colleges included are ones that are requiring face masks, altering start dates or making any substantial changes because of COVID-19, such as changes to quarantine time or virtual learning. This does not include the school systems and colleges that are strongly encouraging masks.

Atkinson County Schools

The school system will be closed Friday, Jan. 14 for deep cleaning after an increase in positive cases through the system. Schools will resume Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Baker County Schools

The school system will require students and staff to wear masks starting Tuesday, Jan. 18 through Monday, Jan. 31.

Ben Hill County Schools

The school system recently announced new COVID-19 protocols.

Dooly County Schools

The Dooly County School System has put a “mask required” policy in place. It went into effect on Jan. 3

Lee County Schools

Lee County Schools implemented a temporary mask requirement due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the community. The mandate will be in effect until Jan. 25.

Pelham City Schools

Pelham City Schools will close Friday, Jan. 21 for a deep cleaning because of COVID-19. Schools will reopen Monday, Jan. 24.

Seminole County Schools

Because of staffing shortages related to COVID-19, Seminole County Schools will be closed on Friday, Jan. 21. Seminole County Elementary School will resume face-to-face instruction on Monday, Jan. 24. Seminole County Middle High School, grades 6th-12th, will transition to a distance learning model from Monday, Jan. 24 through Friday, Jan. 28. Face-to-face instruction will resume on Monday, Jan. 31.

Sumter County Schools

Sumter County Schools will be closed from Jan.13-14 for deep cleaning which will be conducted Friday. Students are stuff will return to school on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Thomasville City Schools

On Jan. 10, Thomasville City Schools started requiring masks.

Turner County Schools

On Jan. 12, the school system went to 100% virtual instruction.

“With the spread of this new variant, it’s very contagious. We’re a small school district. We’ve had an issue at our high school and elementary, really district-wide with both students and teachers. So we made the decision to go virtual for a week or two to help slow the spread and to keep everyone safe. Safety and security is our highest priority,” said Dr. LaShonda Flanders, assistant superintendent for Turner County Schools.

The school system will continue virtual instruction from Jan. 18-21. Face-to-face instruction will resume Monday, Jan. 24.

Valdosta City Schools

All Valdosta City Schools will be closed Friday, Jan. 14 through Tuesday, Jan. 18 because of a large increase in COVID exposures. The city school system will reopen Wednesday, Jan. 19.

This is a developing list of schools and colleges. As more southwest Georgia school systems and colleges announce plans, we’ll update this story.

Copyright 2022 WALB. All rights reserved.

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