PICKENS, GA – The Pickens County School Board focused on COVID-19 and digital learning updates at its September meeting. Six Pickens County directors and the director of health services made presentations to the council, briefing them on the district’s current procedures related to COVID-19.
Digital Learning in Pickens County
His apprenticeship, an online education service, has been used at Pickens to facilitate digital learning since the start of the pandemic. Now that most students are back in school, teachers and administrators are facing new challenges with online learning. However, the school’s faculty members are tackling the task head-on.
Jennifer Halko, Principal of Hill City Elementary, began by highlighting their success with his apprenticeship to the blackboard. “I think we’re really on the right track with this now,” she noted, “it’s just part of our daily classroom use. »Halko then detailed the three scenarios in which his apprenticeship is used in elementary schools: in-person classes, small quarantines and full school closings. Use during lessons entirely in person helps students become accustomed to the program. This often daily practice prepares students for home use, ensuring that they can navigate the ward properly. “In this situation, the pupils know very well his apprenticeship. They used it every day, all year round, ”Halko assured the board of directors. She also addressed possible issues with support from teachers, touching on communication options and live video meetings supported by the service.
Board members also raised concerns about the responsibility and participation of students when using his apprenticeship. Principals answered these questions, noting that the program automatically records how much time a student spends actively working. Halko clarified, “We are sending these expectations in advance… we are monitoring their progress towards the standards.” Harmony Elementary principal Marla Callahan also pointed out that students have the option of completing their work online when they return to school.
During his presentation, Dr Chad Flatt, Director of Pickens Junior High, explained how PJHS uses his apprenticeship and reiterated its importance. He told the board, “You have to have something, because we can’t function without that kind of necessity anymore. Principal Chris Wallace of Pickens High School also addressed the BOE. He emphasized teacher feedback during his presentation, sharing teachers’ opinions on the service. Wallace concluded the Superintendent’s report on digital learning by thanking the board for providing his apprenticeship to schools.
COVID-19 Situation Report
Regional Director of Health Gail Smith also addressed the Education Council at the September meeting. She began her COVID-19 situation report by saying, “We’ve been in this school year now for over a month, so it’s time to reassess our Covid practices and see if we need to adjust anything. ” She highlighted the recent quadrupling of COVID-19 cases in children across the state of Georgia. She then shared that from July 26 to September 2, a total of 1,646 people in the district tested positive, were exposed or were suspected of being positive for COVID-19. Of the 1,646 cases, 316 were confirmed positive by rapid tests, PCR or at home.
She then highlighted the effectiveness of the district’s mitigation strategies. Of the 316 confirmed cases, only 57 were determined to be school transmissions. Smith explained, “If we as a school district weren’t doing contact tracing and quarantine, [those confirmed cases] would have spread this virus. Citing the increased infectivity of the Delta variant, she told the council that those 57 people would have infected at least 342 more people. “We are saving lives,” Smith said.
Smith then referred to the “attack rate,” or severity threshold, of COVID-19. She explained that when 3% of a given population is positive for influenza, mitigation strategies need to be put in place. Comparing the flu to COVID-19, she noted that all elementary schools in Pickens County are below the 3% threshold. Smith specifically pointed out Tate Elementary’s 0.61 percent attack rate. She then noted that during the 2021-2022 school year, only two students and one staff member were hospitalized, and no deaths were recorded.
At the end of his presentation, Smith reiterated the importance of community action — vaccinations, masks and mitigation strategies. She concluded the meeting by turning to the community. Smith urged, “If there are parents who are listening: the greatest thing we can do to reduce the number of these campuses is for children 12 and older to be immunized.”