COMMUNITY INFORMATION CONCERNING COVID-19 - PAGE 2
Calhoun City Schools Reopening Plans and Resource Guide for 2020 - 2021
July 22, 2020 - 5:30 p.m.
Dear Jacket Family,
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the direction of Governor Brian Kemp, Calhoun City Schools closed on March 13, 2020. Only certain, essential personnel maintained a presence in the schools and facilities after that time, yet we have continued to serve our students in a number of ways. As you know, the system immediately moved to provide social and emotional support to employees, students and their families. School nutrition continued operations to provide meals to students. Online instruction and professional development were provided. Chromebook computers and mobile hotspots were deployed. As the school year concluded, plans were made for the collection and return of school and student-owned materials. Throughout this time staff have maintained a number of operations, communications, mail and copy services, facilities maintenance and repairs.
We are now preparing for the next phase - the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year. That process has begun, and continues to be a collaborative effort with stakeholders, community members and public health officials. Planning is comprehensive, systematic and multi-faceted. At its core is the safety and health of students and staff. The plan is flexible, responsible, adaptable, and most importantly, safety-focused.
There continue to be questions and concerns related to the reopening of schools in light of increased testing and confirmation of COVID-19 cases. Please know that our first priority is the safety and health of all students and staff. We are making every effort to provide the safest environment possible, knowing that there will be challenges, but we must trust each other to make sure we are diligent in our efforts. We continue to monitor COVID-19 data and seek the counsel of the Department of Public Health and COVID Task Force. There is still much to be accomplished before our planned first day for students on August 12th. We know that no plan will be perfect or please everyone; however, our plan is reasonable, measured, adaptable and flexible. (Please note that this may change based on information prior to this date.)
Please take time to review the attached guidance in Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools provided by the Georgia Department of Education. We have participated in several conference calls and webinars over the past several weeks and have found Governor Kemp, State School Superintendent Woods and Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Toomey to be very responsive. We continue to work with our District and Local Health Departments, Gordon County Emergency Management Agency, AdventHealth and other health care providers on school reopening plans. Weekly or bi-monthly COVID Task Force meetings continue to be held.
Schools are a part of the larger community, so both community spread and specific cases in schools will be considered in re-opening and operational decisions. In the Plan A model, traditional face-to-face instruction will be paired with in-class virtual learning. This way, students will become more familiar with working online should face-to-face instruction be interrupted due to school closures.
Calhoun City Schools has always set out to maintain a tradition of excellence while making things as personal as we can for our students, families, employees and other stakeholders. Please note that schools will look and operate differently during the pandemic to keep everyone safe. Please be supportive of all of the new procedures as we work together to create the safest environments possible.
As superintendent, I appreciate everyone who has shared their thoughts and prayers. I appreciate those who have provided feedback in many forms. We have read each and every text, message, email, comment, suggestion, and answer to our survey questions. As a community, while we may not always agree on decisions that are made, we all want what is best for our children.
Our reopening plan has options for all families. Right now, our goal is to come back to school on August 12th so our teachers can meet their students. It would be most difficult to launch the new year without this opportunity. We also know that with this evolving situation, we may be required to pivot to Plan B or Plan C if there is substantial community spread of COVID-19. We will be prepared to support our students and staff in the safest and best way possible. Please continue to keep those who have been impacted by the virus and those on the front lines caring for the sick in your thoughts and prayers. Also keep all of our students’ families and our Jacket staff close to your hearts.
Michele Taylor, Superintendent
Statement on COVID-19 Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District
July 2, 2020 - 2:30 p.m.
According to Dr. Gary Voccio, health director for the 10-county Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest District, two weeks of increases in COVID-19 cases in the district point to a concerning sign that our community is moving in the wrong direction to contain the virus. District-wide, confirmed cases have increased 21% in the past two weeks.
Statewide, the seven-day average number of cases has more than doubled in the past two weeks, from an average of 1,000 daily cases in mid-June to 2,000 daily cases at the end of June.
At this time, we have not seen a corresponding increase in hospitalizations or deaths, but these events can take a few weeks longer to occur after infections increase.
We do not want to overwhelm our emergency rooms or hospitals with COVID-19 patients. If this happens, they would not be able to care for people with other acute illnesses.
July 4th weekend is coming, but COVID-19 won’t take a break for the holiday. The virus is as infectious as ever. Remember, we depend on one another to keep our community safe and stop the spread to our friends and family. Avoid close contact with others, keep your distance, and wear a mask.
Although an increase in cases with re-opening as people come into more contact with one another is not unexpected, the marked increase in cases is signaling that we need to take steps to limit further spread that could set back our re-opening.
Most of the increase is among younger people. 22% of all current cases are among people aged 18-29. Because infections can spread from this predominantly younger group to older community members and people with underlying health conditions, we are closely tracking the healthcare system for increases in hospitalizations.
The previous average age of a COVID-19 patient one month ago was 55. Now it’s 42. Our average age is decreasing because more younger people are getting infected.
The recent increase in COVID-19 cases is very concerning. Increasing cases and risk for acquiring COVID-19 in our community threatens the hard-earned progress we made during the stay-at-home order. This virus is very contagious, and we need to be vigilant – the risk from COVID-19 remains serious.
Everyone, especially young adults, needs to participate in COVID-19 prevention in all aspects of our lives, including social, recreational, workplace, and business settings to avoid a rebound in serious illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.
No single exposure site has been driving the increase. Information from case investigations has pointed to multiple potential ways young people may be exposed. The largest proportion of cases continue to be reported among household contacts, but infections are likely acquired in many community settings -- especially with large gatherings.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen an increase in the number of people getting tested for COVID-19. Testing to diagnose people with COVID-19 as soon as possible after symptoms develop is a very important step in reducing transmission.
In addition to increased transmission, increased testing may be turning up more cases that were previously unrecognized. Our district testing has doubled since early June, growing from 600 tests per week to 1,200 per week.
In addition, at the beginning of the epidemic, testing was only recommended for people who were symptomatic or essential workers. Now, testing is recommended for anyone. With this change in criteria, we may be identifying cases in people who otherwise would not have met the threshold for testing, such as younger people with mild symptoms.
To turn around these troubling trends, we all need to understand that the risk from COVID-19 remains high and take prevention measures seriously – for the long term. Anything that increases the number of people we have contact with or the proximity or duration of contact increases the risk for infection.
That means we need to continue to practice safe physical distancing -- avoid close contact (keep at least six feet of distance), crowded settings and group gatherings, and limit the duration of contact whenever possible.
If you’re together with friends, being outside is much better than being inside. And, even when outside, avoid close contact with non-household members.
Wear a face mask in public spaces, including outside when distancing is not possible.
People who are older and people who have underlying health conditions should continue to stay at home and limit contact with others as much as possible.
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and away from others and get tested as soon as possible.
For more information about COVID-19, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV
Calhoun City Schools' Re-Entry Plans Following COVID-19 – Moving forward with PLAN A to Start Back In-Person on August 12, 2020
June 29, 2020 - 4:30 p.m.
Calhoun City Schools' announced their re-entry plans for the 2020-2021 school year following COVID-19 – stating "We are moving forward with PLAN A to Start Back In-Person on August 12, 2020"
Plan A- (No, Low or Minimal Spread) Traditional Model of Instruction
Calhoun City Schools plans to resume on Wednesday, August 12th with all students reporting on the first day of school with parameters put in place regarding health screenings (checking for signs and symptoms of Covid 19) of students and staff, heightened sanitation efforts, social distancing efforts, with no mass gatherings.
Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools https://www.georgiainsights.com/uploads/1/2/2/2/122221993/georgias_k-12_recovery_plan.pdf outlines guidance for reopening schools. Calhoun City Schools will continue to monitor data and work with our partners to ensure that the appropriate protocols are followed.
Establishing procedures and protocols for entering the school buildings, transportation, transitions, school meals, etc. based on guidance from Georgia Department of Education
Removing unused desks and furniture in classrooms
Maximizing social distancing (to the extent practicable)
Limiting physical interaction through partner or group work
Establishing distance between the teacher’s desk/board and students’ desks
Identifying and utilizing large spaces (i.e. gymnasiums, auditoriums, outside spaces – as weather permits) for social distancing
Providing access to hand sanitizer for students and staff
Serving school meals in the classroom if needed to limit large group exposure
Restricting non-essential visitors and volunteers
Allowing for the use of face coverings / masks (these are not required at this time)
Online Options for Families Who Choose Not to Return In-Person
The Calhoun Online Learning Academy (COLA: grades 6-12) will continue to be available for all families who choose this option. COLA Jr. will provide online support for students in grades preK-5th. Calhoun City Schools will provide students with a chromebook to use, however; the home-based COLA option requires students to have access to consistent and reliable access to the internet. If you would like additional information regarding online learning, please email email@example.com or contact Monica Pierson, Director of Online Learning at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration for COLA and COLA Jr. is available at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf46kqnY0JzpfIxdIiM7A40uhXQTXYGQsN0R2dwwk3kDj17JQ/viewform. The application deadline for COLA and/or COLA Jr. is July 31st.
Calhoun City Schools appreciates the support of all of our students, parents and school staff. Our 2020-2025 Vision requires us to focus on what matters most - our students, our people, our organization and our community. Together, we will continue to inspire all students to become lifelong learners in the pursuit of excellence! We want to hear from you. Please send any correspondence to email@example.com. Stay safe and stay well and look for additional information coming soon!
Gordon County Schools announces reopening plan
June 29, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.
Currently, Gordon County Schools (GCS) is busy planning for a safe reopening of schools on August 12. Our intent is to welcome back all students, Pre-K through 12th grade, on a traditional, in-person Monday through Friday schedule, with prevention protocols in place that follow health and safety guidelines outlined by the Department of Public Health and CDC. Protocols and procedures for opening may change as we continue to receive information from state and local officials and monitor data on the community spread of COVID-19 in our area.
WHAT DOES AN IN-PERSON RETURN TO SCHOOL LOOK LIKE FOR GORDON COUNTY SCHOOLS?
Recently, the Georgia Department of Education released a document entitled “Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools”, which outlines guidance for reopening schools based upon three levels of spread for the virus – green indicates little to no spread, yellow is minimal to moderate spread, and red is substantial spread. Community spread levels will be determined by Department of Public Health officials and will be based upon our community’s specific data. For further information and details of this guidance, please visit https://www.georgiainsights.com/recovery.html
When the GCS community is in the green or yellow levels, Gordon County Schools plans to operate on a traditional schedule with modifications for health and safety, including limiting visitors to schools, providing additional distancing to the extent feasible and practical, practicing heightened cleaning protocols, and making hand sanitizer available. Upon returning to school, face coverings/masks may be worn but are not required at this time. Additionally, bus transportation will be offered for students attending school in-person, and the school system will provide information regarding health and safety when riding the bus. The After School Program will also be offered at all of our elementary schools, with protocols for prevention in place. School meals (breakfast and lunch) will be offered to students while attending school for in-person instruction.
WHAT IF THERE IS A RESURGENCE OF COVID-19 ONCE SCHOOL STARTS BACK?
The in-person instructional setting may require modifications at certain points throughout the year if there is a resurgence of the virus based on Department of Public Health and CDC information. This could be on a school-by-school basis or system-wide, if the number of cases rises to a level that affects school operations.
Dependent upon the severity of the spread, there may be a need for a temporary modified schedule to limit the number of students on campus each day. If this becomes necessary, it would affect grades 6 – 12 and allow for students to receive intermittent face-to-face instruction, while significantly reducing the number of students in classrooms and allowing more social distancing. Pre-K through 5th grade should be on campus every day, unless the GCS community enters a substantial spread situation (red) that would require school closure for all. However, under these circumstances, elementary students will see additional modifications in the school building to allow for fewer transitions and more social distancing among students.
WHAT IF MY FAMILY DECIDES THE IN-PERSON OPTION IS NOT BEST FOR US AT THIS TIME?
Because we realize each family will face different concerns and challenges when school resumes on August 12, GCS also plans to offer a full-time, at-home virtual option for the 2020-21 school year. Students will be provided with a school-system iPad. However, this option requires the student to have consistent, reliable access to the internet. GCS is exploring a variety of models for full-time virtual learning. The number of students requesting full-time virtual school at different grade levels will determine which model is chosen. The model developed and implemented may be a combination of a virtual platform with GCS teacher support or solely a virtual platform. Families should also understand that the choice to pursue at-home virtual learning requires a commitment to the program for a specified amount of time. Elementary students will have the option to return to in-person instruction after completing 9 weeks of full-time at-home learning, and middle and high school may return after one semester. Please note that gifted and Advanced Placement courses may not be offered virtually, and students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities/athletics should not choose the virtual at-home learning option.
The new version of virtual at-home learning will be refined from what families experienced during our recent school closures. If the virtual at-home option is chosen, attendance and student online engagement will be recorded, assignments will be graded, and grading practices appropriate for a full-time virtual classroom will be utilized. Additionally, parents/guardians and students who choose this option will be required to participate in a virtual school orientation session.
HOW DO I ENROLL MY CHILD IN FULL-TIME AT-HOME VIRTUAL LEARNING THROUGH GORDON COUNTY SCHOOLS?
Before selecting the at-home virtual option, families should consider the child’s study habits and motivation, learning support at home, and other factors that may impact his or her success with virtual learning. For continued planning, GCS is asking families to state their intent regarding enrollment in at-home virtual learning for the coming school year. A link to apply for at-home virtual learning will be sent to GCS families and posted to our website on July 6. Any currently enrolled student who has not indicated intent to participate in the at-home virtual learning option by noon on July 13 will be considered a traditionally-enrolled student who plans to attend school in-person beginning August 12.
We appreciate your support and are looking forward to continuing our service to you and your family in the coming school year.
Gordon County Update Regarding COVID-19
June 25, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.
We want to take this time to let our citizens know that Gordon County, Calhoun, and leadership and public safety from all municipalities continue to work alongside each other to address issues relevant to COVID-19 within our community by communicating daily and holding bi-weekly meetings. These bi-weekly meetings serve as tools to make sure we are all collaborating together to stay up to date on our current situation as well as that around our nation. We also monitor numbers daily to include increases in cases and deaths both statewide and in Gordon County as well as numbers from our local hospitals on COVID-19 cases, bed availability, and ventilator availability.
Over the last few weeks, we have seen a much larger increase in cases than what we had been experiencing in Gordon County. Public safety and emergency management personnel have worked diligently to gather information on any potential hotspots or pockets of outbreaks that could be responsible for this increase. Through talking to the local Department of Public Health, our local hospital, and each of our long-term care facilities we have not been able to identify any particular area of concern at this time based on all information we have received. All local agencies including AdventHealth Gordon hospital are prepared to take care of our citizens.
We will continue to monitor numbers daily and do all that we can to keep our citizens safe. Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have worked diligently to try and stay ahead of this virus as a team here in Gordon County. We ask that our citizens continue to do the things that can be done during this time to help our community as a whole such as social distancing, frequent hand washing, wearing a mask in public, keeping gatherings to a maximum of 50 people per the Governor’s Executive Order and staying home if you are sick with signs and symptoms. If you do feel you need to be tested the Gordon County Health Department located at 310 North River Street in Calhoun is doing free daily testing Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. No appointment is needed for this testing.
Local leaders meet to discuss the re-opening of schools
June 24, 2020 - 3:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, June 24, local leaders met on Wednesday to discuss the safe return of students planned for Wednesday, Aug. 12.
School Board chairs Charlie Walraven and Eddie Reeves, along with Superintendents Dr. Kim Fraker and Dr. Michele Taylor hosted the meeting with several local leaders attending.
Courtney Taylor, the director of Gordon County's Emergency Management updated the group on the work of the local COVID-19 Task Force.
Garrett Nudd, President of AdventHealth Gordon Foundation and Director of Marketing and Communications, introduced AdventHealth's new CEO, Michael Murrill to the team. Nudd and Murrill shared what they were seeing as health providers to the Calhoun-Gordon County community.
Law enforcement also weighed in on how they could assist both school districts in the re-opening of schools. City of Calhoun Chief Tony Pyle and City of Fairmount's Interim Chief Will Regan offered a great deal of assistance with their suggestions for student safety as we prepare for the re-opening of school campuses.
Calhoun City Schools and Gordon County Schools are appreciative of the support of the local Covid 19 Task Force and this team in planning for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
"We look forward to opening all of our schools on Wednesday, August 12, 2020," stated Dr. Kim Fraker and Dr. Michele Taylor. "With added safety and preventative measures, we believe we will have a successful re-entry into the schools.
Additional information will be provided to all of our students, staff and parents in the coming weeks," they shared.
ABOVE: Dr. Kim Fraker, Superintendent of Gordon County Schools and Board Chair Charlie Walraven.
ABOVE: Calhoun City Schools' Board Chair Eddie Reeves and Superintendent Dr. Michele Taylor. BELOW LEFT: AdventHealth's CEO Michael Murrill, Director of Communications Garrett Nudd and Gordon County EMA Director Courtney Taylor. BELOW RIGHT: Fairmount Interim Chief of Police Will Regan, Calhoun Chief of Police Tony Pyle, AdventHealth's CEO Michael Murrill, and Director of Communications Garrett Nudd
Gov. Kemp Signs New COVID-19 Executive Order
June 11, 2020 - 7 p.m.
Atlanta, GA - Today Governor Brian P. Kemp signed Executive Order 06.11.20.01 - Empowering a Healthy Georgia. The order addresses ongoing emergency response efforts for fighting the spread of COVID-19. Unless noted otherwise in specific sections, the order goes into effect at 12 AM on June 16, 2020 and runs through 11:59 PM on June 30, 2020.
Sports: Effective June 16, professional sports teams and organizations must follow the rules and guidelines set by their respective leagues. High school and collegiate teams and organizations must follow the rules and guidelines set by their applicable conferences or associations. Amateur sports teams and organizations must follow the criteria for non-critical infrastructure entities outlined in the order.
Sheltering in Place: Effective immediately, residents and visitors of Georgia who are sixty-five years of age or older are no longer required to shelter in place unless they meet any of the following categories:
▪Those persons who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility, including inpatient hospice, assisted living communities, personal care homes, intermediate care homes, community living arrangements, and community integration homes
▪Those persons who have chronic lung disease
▪Those persons who have moderate to severe asthma
▪Those persons who have severe heart disease
▪Those persons who are immunocompromised
▪Those persons, of any age, with class III or severe obesity
▪Those persons diagnosed with the following underlying medical conditions: diabetes, liver disease, and persons with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
Gatherings: Effective June 16, gatherings of more than fifty people are banned unless there is at least six feet between each person. This rule does not apply to critical infrastructure entities, incidental or transitory groupings, or cohabitating individuals.
Drinking and Eating (effective June 16): In restaurants and dining rooms, there is no longer a party maximum for the number of people who can sit together. There is no longer a limit on the number of patrons allowed per square foot. Workers at restaurants, dining rooms, banquet facilities, private event facilities, and private reception venues are only required to wear face coverings when they are interacting with patrons. In a bar, now you can have fifty people – up from twenty-five – or thirty-five percent of total listed fire capacity, whichever is greater. For salad bars and buffets, a worker can use cafeteria-style service to serve patrons or the establishment can provide hand sanitizer, install a sneeze guard, enforce social distancing, and regularly replace shared utensils to allow patron self-service.
Overnight Summer Camps (effective June 16): Campers and workers may not attend an overnight summer camp unless they have received a negative COVID-19 test within twelve days – up from seven days – prior to starting camp.
Conventions: Effective July 1, a “convention” may occur if it meets twenty-one specific requirements in addition to the requirements for non-critical infrastructure entities. “Convention” means “an organized event of more than 100 persons that are required to register or obtain a license to gather for a common purpose at a single indoor facility or grouping of indoor facilities for more than four hours and in some cases for more than one day” and “shall include exhibitions, trade shows, conferences, and business retreats.” The term “convention” does not include any regular operation of a business that occurs on property owned or leased for the exclusive operation of such business, nor does the term encompass regular religious services, business meetings, sports competitions, or events categorized by O.C.G.A. § 16-11-173(b)(1)(A).
Live Performance Venues: Effective July 1, a “live performance venue” may reopen for business if it complies with specific criteria based on whether it is designated Tier I, II, or III. There are certain exceptions in the order for drive-in performances; private recording sessions, livestream performances, practices, fanless events, and rehearsals; and non-ticketed or free events. “Live Performance Venue” means “any indoor or outdoor location that requires patrons to purchase a license to attend an event featuring live musical, dramatical, automotive, educational, or any other type of entertainment performed before in-person patrons.” The term does not include restaurants and dining rooms, banquet facilities, private event facilities, private reception venues, weddings, drive-in venues, or events held as part of a convention, and the term does not include outdoor recreational fields used for amateur sporting events.
Effective June 16: At indoor movie theaters and cinemas, there is no longer a limit on the number of people who may sit together in a party. Walk-ins are now allowed at body art studios, barber shops, hair salons, their respective schools, massage therapy establishments, and tanning facilities subject to specific requirements.
Mandatory requirements for operating non-critical infrastructure businesses, for-profit corporations, non-profit corporations, and organizations are extended through the end of the month. Specific requirements for previously closed businesses remain in effect.
Georgia Departments of Education, Public Health release guidance for safe return to in-person instruction in fall 2020
June 1, 2020 - 10:30 p.m.
The Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Department of Public Health are releasing Georgia’s K-12 Recovery Plan – guidance to help schools plan for a safe return to in-person instruction in fall 2020.
The guidelines are intended to ensure the safety of students, staff, and families while remaining flexible, responsive, and achievable in the K-12 setting. They are guidelines, not mandates, and are adaptive to multiple scenarios. School districts should review the guidance in consultation with their local public health departments and choose which methods to adopt.
Georgia’s K-12 Restart Working Groups will meet through the summer and fall to build out resources for school district planning and implementation.
“We created these guidelines, in partnership with Dr. Kathleen Toomey and her team at the Georgia Department of Public Health, to give school districts a blueprint for a safe reopening that is realistic in the K-12 setting,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “We have a responsibility to keep our students, teachers, school staff, and families safe and to provide the best possible education for our children. I’m confident these guidelines will help schools accomplish both of those objectives.”
The plan addresses practicing prevention, transporting students, entering school buildings, serving meals, transitioning between classes and spaces within the school, conducting large group gatherings, supporting teaching and learning, and protecting vulnerable populations in areas of substantial, minimal to moderate, and low to no spread of COVID-19.
“We all want to open schools, but our primary goal is to provide the safest possible environments for students, teachers and staff,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., Georgia Department of Public Health commissioner. “DPH and DOE share a long history of partnership and collaboration and have worked together to develop these guidelines for healthy learning opportunities as we navigate this COVID-19 pandemic.”
The guidelines specifically address measures to ensure that students and teachers who are medically fragile have viable options even as schools reopen for in-person instruction.
A graphic providing an overview of the guidelines is available above and a downloadable version of the image is available here. However, we strongly encourage parents and other interested stakeholders to review the entire document at this link.
KEMP EXTENDS STATE OF EMERGENCY THROUGH JULY 12; REOPENS BARS, RECREATION, OTHER EVENTS WITH RESTRICTIONS
May 28, 2020 - 5:30 p.m.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has announced in a press conference that he has signed an executive order to extend Georgia's State of Emergency through July 12.
“Today, after consultation with Lt. Governor Duncan and Speaker Ralston, I’ve decided to renew the State of Emergency for a third time, through 11:59 p.m. on July 12, 2020” said Gov. Kemp. “This declaration, as you know, plays a critical, important role in our battle against coronavirus.”
Kemp went on to say that the State of Emergency allows for the enhanced partnerships between private and public sectors for healthcare infrastructure, procurement of supplies and coordination across all levels of government.
“As we continue to take measured steps forward, the public health state of emergency provides flexibility for a cohesive response across government and within our communities across the state,” said Kemp.
“Today I signed a new executive order to extend specific safety precautions, outline guidance for summer camps and summer school, and outline important rules for re-opening shuttered businesses,” said Kemp. “The shelter in place order for Georgians who are 65 and older or are medically fragile will continue through June 12, 2020, with exceptions for necessary activities including work, medical appointments, grocery shopping, home health services, and related categories.”
“In this executive order, we strongly encourage all Georgians and visitors to wear face coverings in public to help mitigate viral spread,” said Kemp. “Restrictions remain intact for nearly every Georgia business to keep employees and their customers safe. For several weeks now, gatherings of more than 10 people in a single location have been banned in Georgia, unless there are 6-feet between each person. Given favorable data and relying on Dr. Toomey’s advice, we feel comfortable incrementally increasing that number to 25. That means starting June 1, 2020, you can have gatherings of more than 25 people in a single location if you have at least 6-feet between each person. Small weddings, recreational sports and similar events will be able to resume with a little more flexibility, but we are continuing to ask everyone to remain vigilant. Please continue to follow the public health advice as you engage in these activities. Wash your hands, keep your distance, wear a mask if possible and let’s continue to protect the medically fragile and elderly.
“At this time, live performance venues will remain closed,” said Kemp. “I know these closures are tough on business owners and their employees, but we will continue to watch the data to ensure the health and safety of our citizens. We are working closely with those business owners, associations and stakeholders as we prepare for the future.
“Starting May 31, 2020, overnight summer camps are permitted in Georgia if they meet 33 specific criteria for reopening, in addition to meeting the requirements for operating a non-critical infrastructure business,” said Kemp.
“Starting June 1, 2020, bars and nightclubs can decide to reopen if they comply with strict sanitation and social distancing rules all crafted to reflect industry practices and mitigate health risks. To open their doors, bars and nightclubs must meet 39 mandatory measures to ensure patient well-being; these include screening workers for illness, limiting the number of people in the building to 25 people or 35 percent of total occupancy, requiring the facility to be thoroughly and regularly sanitized, only serving drinks to seated patrons or those in designated areas, limiting party size to six people and preventing patrons from congregating.”
“To provide clarity for banquet facilities, private event facilities and private reception venues, we are adding them to the same category as restaurants and dine-in services so that they have clear directions for operating,” said Kemp. “This change will help these facilities reschedule important events for families, especially weddings, in the coming weeks.”
“My executive order specifically addresses the return of amateur and professional sports,” said Kemp. “Starting June 1, professional sports teams and organizations which engage in practices or other in-person operations must operate by the rules or guidelines of their respective sports league. In addition, all amateur sports that continue in-person operation must follow the guidelines for non-critical infrastructure organizations.”
“Many school districts have reached out for guidance on holding summer school,” said Kemp. “I want to specifically thank Superintendent Woods and his team for helping us develop appropriate safeguards for educational leaders as they plan for their students return. Starting next month, schools and districts can hold summer school for students if they comply with 11 mandatory criteria that include screening workers and students for illness to prevent viral spread, enhancing campus sanitation, encouraging regular hand washing and hygiene and keeping students separated to minimize exposure. We know first-hand how important it is for some students to return to campus for in-person instruction and these measures will accomplish that goal without compromising safety.”
“Operators of amusement park rides, traveling carnivals, water parks, circuses and other temporary amusement rides shall not begin operation until June 12, 2020. To open at that time, they must comply with 33 mandatory requirements, in addition to all the requirements for non-critical infrastructure businesses,” said Kemp.
“We are grateful for the guidance of the stakeholders to develop these rules and prepare for future re-openings,” said Kemp. “As we have said for many weeks now, one of the critical battlegrounds in our fight against this virus remains in our long-term care facilities, specifically nursing homes. Over the last several weeks, the Georgia National Guard has worked closely with public health officials and the Department of Community Health to test nursing home residents and staff. Right now, 48 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in Georgia are connected to long-term care facilities. The earlier we test, the earlier we can intervene and try to prevent severe outcomes. As of (Wednesday) afternoon, we have tested 66 percent of nursing home residents and 36 percent of all staff. That is in addition to the nearly 2,000 infection control missions conducted, along with 900 facilities receiving two or more mission visits. This is a top priority for us as we continue to work around the clock to protect our most vulnerable. We will continue to do everything in our power to keep these Georgians safe.”
“Since we began the rapid increase of our testing capacity in mid-April, we continue to remind the public and those in the media, the more that we test, the more cases we will see,” said Kemp. “That is especially true of our efforts to test high-risk populations like we’ve been doing in our nursing homes. The multiple public-private partnerships around testing that were created in a matter of weeks to fight this pandemic have exponentially increased our testing capacity, but the nature of COVID-19 testing and reporting can sometimes lead to delays in mass reporting of results. Dr. Toomey and her team at Public Health continue to work with private sector partners to streamline these new processes and ensure our testing data is timely as well as accurate. Starting next week, Public Health will move to a daily 3 p.m. update on the COVID-19 website. This change will give them more time to coordinate with healthcare facilities and providers to verify information and check its accuracy before publication. We remain encouraged by the numbers we receive in testing, hospitalizations and a wide variety of other data points across the state. We are also encouraged by the new treatment being rolled out for Georgians in partnership with the Trump administration. This week, the Department of Public Health will distribute over 18,000 vials of Remdesivir to 85 hospitals across Georgia. This shipment will enable these facilities to treat roughly 1670 patients.”
AdventHealth Gordon reduces visitor restrictions while implementing additional safety precautions
May 18, 2020 - 11:45 a.m.
Beginning Monday, May 18, AdventHealth Gordon and AdventHealth Medical Group locations are reducing visitor restrictions by transitioning from allowing no visitors to allowing one visitor per patient. The visitor is expected to remain with the patient throughout their stay.
Friends and family members who plan to accompany patients who have an appointment for an X-ray, CT scan, MRI scan, nuclear medicine or ultrasound must remain in their car due to space restrictions. All other imaging procedures will allow visitors.
All visitors will be screened upon arrival and must not have any symptoms of illness. If a visitor does not meet screening criteria, the visitor will not be allowed to enter the facility. Due to limiting visitors to one per patient, AdventHealth Gordon encourages family, friends and loved ones to continue to use electronic devices and apps to keep in contact with patients.
"We are taking specific measures to ensure the safety of our patients, team members and community,” said Karen Steely, interim president and chief operating officer of AdventHealth Gordon. “We want our community to know they can feel confident in our care, and if they are having a health emergency or need medical attention, we are ready as always.”
AdventHealth Gordon and AdventHealth Medical Group locations have begun resuming normal operations while incorporating the following safeguards:
Requiring everyone to wear masks
Performing temperature screenings on everyone entering the facility
Modifying access points and following social distancing guidelines in waiting rooms, reception and dining areas
Instituting new deep-cleaning procedures
Cohorting COVID-19 patients
If you are experiencing a life-threatening symptom or injury, please call 911 or seek care immediately, and don’t delay your care. Important symptoms to not ignore include:
Pressure, tightness or pain in chest, arms or upper body
Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
Shortness of breath
Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness
Trouble speaking and understanding what others are saying
Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg
Trouble with walking
Georgia DPH Exceeds 100,000 COVID-19 Tests in 10 Days, Testing Now Available to all Georgians
May 8, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.
Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has reached its goal of testing 100,000 individuals in 10 days. More than 108,000 tests were processed since Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H, set the DPH goal last week.
“This is an important benchmark for Georgia as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the state,” said Toomey. “Increased testing is critical to understanding where there are hotspots of infection and how best to mitigate them.”
Effective immediately, testing is available to all Georgians who request it, whether they have symptoms or not. There are more than 65 specimen point of collection sites (SPOC) throughout the state, with an additional 30 mobile SPOCs - locations and hours vary daily.
Northwest Georgia residents may call one of these numbers from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to be screened and scheduled for testing at a convenient location:
Residents may also email firstname.lastname@example.org anytime and ask to be referred. Please give name and phone number, and a public health worker will contact you.
For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
For updates on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter, and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook.
Gov. Kemp, Dr. Toomey Urge Georgians to Wear Face Coverings to Fight COVID-19
May 1, 2020 - 3:00 p.m.
Atlanta – Governor Brian P. Kemp, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) urge all Georgians to continue to follow safe daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to COVID-19 and keep the virus from spreading. Wear a face covering in public settings, practice social distancing, and wash your hands frequently.
A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people are in a community setting where social distancing may be difficult such as in the grocery store or picking up food at a restaurant or riding public transportation, and especially in areas of widespread community transmission of COVID-19. Cloth face coverings help slow the spread of the virus and help people who may be infected and not know it from transmitting it to others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has easy to follow instructions on how to make a low-cost cloth face covering.
Cloth face coverings should allow for breathing without restriction, cover the nose and mouth and be laundered and machine dried after use.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on children under the age of 2, or anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
The use of cloth face coverings does not take the place of social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet from other people, do not gather in groups, stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) when soap and water are not readily available. Practice good health hygiene covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook.
Gordon County Update Regarding COVID-19
April 29 2020 - 1:30 p.m.
We want to take this time to let our citizens know that Gordon County, Calhoun, and leadership and public safety from all municipalities continue to work alongside each other to address issues relevant to COVID-19 within our community. Today we held the ninth meeting via web conference of the Calhoun-Gordon County COVID-19 Pandemic Task Force comprised of all local governments, state government, public safety agencies, schools, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, public health, churches, non-profit organizations, and our hospital. These weekly meetings serve as tools to make sure we are all collaborating together to stay up to date on our current situation as well as that around our nation.
This local task force was created early in the stages of the COVID-19 response. By coming together collaboratively to assess cases and needs early, often and ongoing we feel this has helped us to keep our case numbers down relative to many other counties within our state although they have risen each week. Our goal would have been to keep cases affecting our citizens at zero as we realize every number reported is one of our families affected. For this reason, we must remain diligent in our efforts.
As the Governor begins to open our state back up for business we realize more and more people will begin slowly going back to normal but we urge this to be a “new normal.” Please continue to utilize social distancing techniques when you can and utilize frequent hand washing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching any area of your face with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with any people who are sick, stay home if you are sick, cover your cough and sneeze and disinfect frequently touched items.
The next Task Force meeting is scheduled for May 5th. We will continue to work daily to be prepared to protect our citizens and visitors no matter the threat we are faced with. We also continue to ask for your prayers for our community, our state, and our nation.
Gov. Kemp announces Phase One of business re-openings, beginning Friday, April 24
April 20 2020 - 5:30 p.m.
Georgia Brian Kemp addressed state residents on Monday afternoon, discussing Phase One of reopening many sectors of the economy, many of which will begin to reopen this Friday, April 24.
“We remain focused on the safety and well-being of every person that calls Georgia home,” said Kemp. “Last week, the White House issued guidelines for states to safely begin reopening our nation’s economy. We appreciate the leadership and share in the President’s desire to reopen the economy and get Americans back to work. As a small business owner for over 30 years, I know the impact that this pandemic has had on hard-working Georgians.”
“I hear the concerns of those I serve,” said Kemp. “I see the horrible impact of COVID-19 on public health as well as the pocket book. Informed by the Coronavirus Task Force and Public Health Officials, opening up America again includes three phases to safely reopen and get folks back to work. To initiate Phase One, a state must meet a series of basic criteria which can be tailored to reflect specific circumstances for region or state-wide approach. For weeks now, our state has taken targeted action to prevent, detect and address the spread of Coronavirus by leveraging data and advice from health officials in the public and private sectors. Thanks to this methodical approach, and the millions of Georgians who have literally worked diligently to slow the spread of Coronavirus, we are on track to meet the criteria for Phase One. According to the Department of Public Health, reports of emergency room visits for flu-like illnesses are declining, documented COVID-19 cases have flattened and appear to be declining and we have seen declining emergency room visits in general. By expanding our hospital bed capacity, including the temporary facility at the Georgia World Congress Center, we have the ability to treat patients without crisis care in hospital settings. Our proactive actions have reduced stress and strain on our area hospitals, as well as the communities and families that they serve.”
“Throughout this entire process, from creating the Coronavirus Task Force to today, we have relied on data, science and the advice of health care professionals to guide our approach and decision making. We have been targeted and methodical, always putting the health and well-being of our citizens first, and doing our best to protect lives and livelihood in every part of our state. In the same way we carefully closed businesses and urged operations to end to mitigate the virus spread, today we are announcing plans to incrementally and safely open sectors of our economy.
“To help in this battle against COViD-19, healthcare facilities across Georgia voluntarily paused elective surgeries to reduce equipment and personnel shortages. This selfless act, by healthcare leaders, enhanced our ability to keep Georgians safe. However, many now find themselves in a difficult financial situation, some losing millions of dollars a day as they sacrifice the greater good. This is not sustainable long-term for these facilities. Given the recent changes in modeling as it relates to surge capacity and national supply as the needs of other states diminish, and following weeks of discussions with hospital leaders and medical providers, I believe Georgia is positioned to secure the necessary personal protective equipment for healthcare facilities to resume elective surgeries deemed essentials.”
Kemp then laid out the sectors that will reopen beginning as early as this Friday.
“Given the favorable data, enhanced testing and approval of our healthcare professionals, we will allow gyms, fitness centers, bowling allies, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians, their respective schools and massage therapists to reopen their doors this Friday, April 24,” said Kemp. “Unlike other businesses, these entities have been unable to manage inventory, deal with payroll and take care of administrative items while we shelter in place. This measure allows them to undertake baseline operations that most other businesses in the state have maintained since I issued the Shelter in Place order. This measure will apply state-wide and will be the operational standard in all jurisdictions, which means local action cannot be taken that is more or less restrictive. The entities I am reopening are not reopening business as usual. Each of these entities will be subject to specific restrictions including adherence to the minimum basic operations of social distancing and regular sanitation. Minimum basic operations includes but is not limited to screening workers for fevers and respiratory illness, enhancing workplace sanitation, wearing gloves and masks if appropriate, separating work spaces by at least six feet and teleworking where at all possible and implementing staggered shifts.”
Kemp then said that theaters, private social clubs and restaurant dine-in services will be allowed to reopen on Monday, April 27, saying his office would be releasing additional information over the next few days.
Kemp also now allows holding in-person services for places of worship.
“Under the Phase One guidelines, it must be done in accordance with strict social distancing protocols,” said Kemp. “I urge faith leaders to continue to help us in this effort; to keep their congregations safe by heeding the advice of public health officials. Of course, online, call in and drive-in services remain good options for religious institutions.”
Staying closed at this time, according to Kemp, are bars, nightclubs, operators of amusement park rides and live performance venues.
“In the days ahead, we will be evaluating data and conferring with public health officials to determine the best course of action for those establishments,” said Kemp.
“By taking this measured action, we will get Georgians back to work safely without undermining the progress we all have made in this battle against COVID-19,” said Kemp. “Today’s announcement is a small step forward and should be treated as such.
Kemp said that the Shelter in Place Order is still active and will expire at 11:59 p.m. on April 30 for most Georgians.
“We urge everyone to continue to seek CDC and DPH guidance by sheltering in place as often as you can,” said Kemp. “Limit your travel and limit who goes with you on errands to prevent potential exposure. When possible, wear a mask or covered clothing to slow the spread of Coronavirus. For the medically fragile and elderly Georgians, make plans to shelter in place through May 13, the date Georgia’s Health Emergency expires. Given the heightened risk of adverse exposure to Coronavirus, this is recommended and safest path forward. We will release more details at the end of the month so the medically fragile and elderly Georgians will have adequate time to prepare. I want to continue to call on all my Georgian’s to continue to protect the elderly: limit direct contact and help them navigate the weeks ahead.“
Kemp said that in the weeks to come, hard discussions on the state budget will take place, and that now is not the time for partisan politics.
“While I’m encouraged by the data, confident in what we have accomplished and confident of the plan moving forward, I know that the journey ahead is going to be a long one,” said Kemp. “We must remain laser focused on defeating this virus and keeping our citizens safe. We must find ways to revitalize communities that have literally been devastated by COVID-19. We must identify opportunities for economic growth and prosperity. We will have to have tough conversations about the budget, state spending, and our priorities and values as a state. Those conversations are underway, but here’s what I know; if we remain united, just as we have in this fight against COVID-19, we can overcome the challenges and obstacles that are ahead of us. But if we allow politics, partisanship, elections and egos to divide us during this important inflection point, our entire state will suffer. So as we begin this process, this measured, deliberate step forward, let’s reaffirm our commitment to one another, to the greater good and to Georgia’s future, because I am confident that together, we will emerge victorious from this war we have been fighting. With your help and God’s grace, we will continue to build a safer, stronger and more prosperous state for our families and our generations to come.”
GNTC announces Free Application Week
April 16 2020 - 10:00 a.m.
In an effort to help students continue to reach their education goals during the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) will be hosting a Free Application Week Monday, April 20, through Friday, April 24, to help those who are seeking to enroll in the summer semester.
During Free Application Week, GNTC will waive the $25 application fee for all new applicants. The admissions deadline for the summer semester is April 28 and classes are scheduled to begin on May 18.
“We understand that many in our community are experiencing hardships during this crisis and waiving the application fee is just one of the many hurdles we are removing for our students,” said Selena Magnusson, vice president of Institutional Effectiveness and Student Success. “During the Free Application Week when you apply online your application fee will be waived.”
Another step GNTC is taking to help students during this time is streamlining the enrollment process by waiving the entrance exam for the summer semester. Georgia Northwestern Technical College, along with all other Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) colleges, is suspending the placement exam requirement for admission.
The suspension of the requirements for official high school or high school equivalency transcripts for admission allows applicants who wish to begin this summer the ability to continue their admission process. In the interim, students may submit unofficial transcripts until GNTC resumes normal business operations and will have the ability to submit official documents to the college without affecting their current enrollment.
Waiving the placement exam, ACCUPLACER, still provides GNTC the ability to use other placement methods already established to allow an applicant to continue the enrollment process. GNTC will continue to evaluate program readiness in a number of different ways to ensure student success.
Although GNTC’s campuses remain closed to public through spring semester, GNTC is open virtually and available through our call center at (866) 983-4682, Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. For more Information on applying for the summer semester visit us at and click “apply”. For questions about GNTC’s Free Application Week, contact the Office of Admissions at or call (866) 983-4682.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 12,454 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,730 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 4,724 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.
Gordon County Schools release statement outlining remainder of school year; Last day of instructional learning to be May 5
April 15 2020 - 5:30 p.m.
Gordon County Schools Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Fraker sent a letter to students and parents outlining the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. In the letter, she stated the last day of instruction for the year will be Tuesday, May 5. The letter in its entirety reads:
The closing of schools to in-person instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly created an unexpected and somewhat sad ending to our current school year. I think we all will be grieving this abrupt ending in some way, which is only natural. While we are all disappointed, we are also in a unique position to continue to positively impact the lives of our students through our continued offering of at-home learning. It is the intention of the Gordon County School System that we provide, to the best of our ability, a meaningful educational experience through at-home learning for all students, including students with disabilities, English language learners, and those without internet access.
As our schools will remain closed to in-person instruction through the remainder of the school year, our teachers continue to create meaningful distance learning opportunities electronically, as well as paper materials, as needed. Individual schools will communicate with families regarding accessing new material and submitting completed work for the remainder of the semester. I am so thankful for the dedication of our parents and other caregivers to ensuring that our students continue academic work during this time. I know doing this puts another responsibility on our families that no one was prepared to handle. With all of this in mind, we created an adjusted timeline for completion of course work and a framework for grading so that no child’s grade is negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and our school closure. Details are outlined below.
Submitting Completed Work:
While we continue to operate within the CDC guidelines and those outlined in the most recent Executive Order by the Governor, please remember the preference for receiving, completing, and submitting student work is electronically through Schoology, DoJo, Remind, etc. Students who received a paper packet to complete are asked to send the completed work to the teacher via email or text message, if at all possible. Students who have no way of submitting completed work electronically will be provided directions for submitting work by their local school.
Continuing At-Home Learning:
Teachers continue providing instruction/activities Monday-Thursday (using Friday for review/ make-up work).
Teachers will grade assignments and provide feedback to students.
All Georgia Milestones Assessments (End of Grade/End of Course) have been cancelled and requirements for completing them have been waived. There will be no final exams.
At the end of the year, it is our intention that students will be promoted to the next grade, unless the student is significantly behind and a meeting has already been held with the parents to discuss the topic of retention. Each student must attempt the at-home learning assignments and complete them to the best of his/her ability. Failure to submit work for grading may result in a final grade of “Incomplete” for the course, and the student may be required to participate in additional remediation once in-person instruction begins for the 2020-2021 school year. At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, each school with the support of the system staff, will spend time addressing learning gaps and individual student needs.
May 5th: Teachers will stop delivering new content.
May 6th –8th: Students will submit any remaining completed work. Students who are behind or need additional time will continue working with their teacher(s) and may submit work through May 15.
May 6th –22nd: Teachers will grade student work, review reports, remediate those failing, and post grades. Virtual year end and student recognition celebrations will be held May 18 – 22.
Grading: Student work for the last nine weeks (all work after March 12) will be used to enhance the student’s grade, not be used as a punitive measure.
K-2 students will receive a standards-based report card. Any standard without evidence will not be evaluated.
K-2 grading is a reflection of the student’s mastery of standards to prepare for instruction/remediation for the 20-21 school year.
Grades 3-5 will receive an average of the first three nine weeks. Work submitted the last nine weeks will supplement the average. No child will receive a numeric grade lower than the average of the first three nine weeks.**
Grades 6-8 will receive an average of the first three nine weeks. Work submitted the last nine weeks will supplement the average. No child will receive a numeric grade lower than the average of the first three nine weeks.**
Nine weeks Connections classes will receive a final grade of Pass or Incomplete based on the student’s work.
The course averages a student had on March 12th at the nine weeks is the lowest numeric grade the student can receive.**
Dual Enrollment courses will be governed by the affiliated College or University.
Details regarding the graduation ceremony are forthcoming.
** Failure to submit work for grading may result in a final grade of “Incomplete” for the course (K-12) and the student may be required to participate in additional remediation once in-person instruction begins for the 2020-2021 school year.
Please accept my sincere appreciation for all that you are doing for your child and for partnering with our school system during this difficult time. If you have specific questions regarding your child’s work or grades, please contact your child’s school.
Local United Way establishes COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund for Gordon County community
April 14 2020 - 9 a.m.
According to Executive Director Jennifer Latour, United Way of Gordon County has established the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund for the Calhoun-Gordon County community.
“During times of uncertainty and crisis, the people of Calhoun-Gordon County have always come together to support one another,” said a statement from United Way of Gordon County. “COVID-19 is a new test of our collective strength. With businesses closing and layoffs being announced -- unemployment is on-the-rise.”
The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund is a way for the community to donate extra funds for local non-profits. Those non-profits will be able to help families and people in need by giving them access to critical information and services like food, utility assistance, shelter and rent assistance.
“The initial fund is $2500;. we are accepting any and all donations, and 100 percent of the donations are going to any and all agencies doing work in Gordon County that have direct needs and responses to the coronavirus,” said Latour.
To donate to the fund, visit the United Way of Gordon County’s COVID-19 page on their website at gordoncountyunitedway.org/united-ways-response-covid-19 and click the link ‘DONATE to United Way’s COVID-19 Fund today.’
“The application is also open to non-profits in the area to apply,” said Latour.
Non-profits wishing to apply may do so by visiting the United Way of Gordon County’s COVID-19 page on their website at gordoncountyunitedway.org/united-ways-response-covid-19 and clicking on the link ‘APPLY for United Way’s COVID-19 Response + Recovery Fund.’
For more information, visit the United Way of Gordon County’s website at www.gordoncountyunitedway.org.
United Way of Gordon County is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving the Gordon County area. We work every day to advance the common good by investing in quality human service programs and by working with philanthropists, businesses, churches, local governments, and dedicated community volunteers to create lasting and measurable changes. United Way creates opportunities for all by focusing on the building blocks for a good life: Education, Basic Needs, and Health.
City Schools release statement outlining remainder of school year; Last day of instructional learning to be May 15
April 13 2020 - 10 a.m.
Calhoun City Schools Superintendent Dr. Michele Taylor sent a letter to students and parents outlining the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. In the letter, she stated the last day of instruction for the year will be Friday, May 15. The letter in its entirety reads:
Dear CCS Students and Parents,
I wanted to take the time to say thank you to all of you for your support of our schools and for doing your part to stop the spread of COVID-19. We have been blessed with great community support and continue to pray for those serving on the front lines to help keep our community safe.
We are navigating challenging waters as we plan for the remainder of the school year. We appreciate the responsible actions of our Governor to ensure that our students are safe. While school building closures during the COVID-19 pandemic have been disappointing, we know that they were necessary to protect our community.
Over the past three weeks, CCS teachers, administrators and staff have been tending to the basic needs of our students, preparing and delivering more than 71,000 meals to our students. We thank all who have given their time, energy and resources to support our families. Many have donated hygiene supplies, groceries, books etc. to be delivered to those in need.
We’ve been able to strengthen distance learning opportunities for all of our students with the deployment of 1329 devices over the past two weeks. We are working to ensure that all students have access to a device and internet connectivity. Presently, we have more than 98% with an electronic device and more than 92% with internet access. We continue to work to ensure all students have the tools that they need. Please contact your school principal if a device is needed.
For the duration of school closures we want to provide meaningful educational experiences for all our students, including students with disabilities, English Learners, and those with limited internet access. We are working with AT&T and Comcast to support our families with free access. Our technology team is also available for Chromebook support. Resources are found on the COVID-19 tab on the CCS website. Thank you parents and caregivers who continue to ensure that students complete their academic work. We know how challenging this is for our families and we have worked to make sure no child's grade is negatively impacted.
The last day of direct instruction will be May 15, 2020 for the purpose of allowing teachers the time necessary to process and post grades, in addition to working with any student who may need support in making up work or remediating where needed. We are very pleased with the daily work being given by teachers and completed by students given the circumstances we have been dealt. Fortunately, our school instructional calendar provides that students will meet all grade level standards before the milestones testing period. The remainder of the school year is normally used for standardized testing, remediation and enrichment of those standards.
The focus after spring break will include:
PreK, Primary and Elementary Schools Highlights:
Direct instruction will be posted in Google Classrooms starting April 13th
Streamlined communication with parents
Exploring remediation/acceleration options
Teachers completed a second set of learning packets for the weeks of March 30-April 3 and April 13-17. Teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade are currently working on lesson plans and grade level videos to post in Google Classrooms starting April 13th.
Teachers are working collaboratively to ensure each grade level has the same set of expectations, so that all students will receive the same level of instruction. Special area teachers (music, art, p.e. etc.) are developing lessons and activities to be posted inside each teacher’s Google Classroom. Teachers understand that all independent activities assigned for all classes combined, should not exceed Kdg-1st (1 hour), 2nd-3rd (2 hours), 4th-5th (3 hours) of work for students per day. Fridays will be for family fun days. Teacher instruction and learning activities will be exclusively delivered and submitted online (individual student technology needs will be addressed as needed). These virtual lessons and learning activities will include review material as well as some new content that would have been taught in the last three months of the school year.
Students are expected to turn in work to their teachers, preferably online. Teachers will communicate submission dates with parents and students. Teacher feedback will be provided to students on assignments; students will have the opportunity to resubmit unsatisfactory assignments after receiving feedback.
As part of our good faith effort to help all students, the school will strive to provide alternative access to the curriculum for students with disabilities and English Language Learners. ESS and ESOL teachers will work closely with grade level teachers to provide appropriate accommodations. All teachers have called and checked on their students and conducted parent conferences via phone. The feedback received from the parent survey sent out earlier this week was appreciated and utilized to support student learning from home. As a result teachers are also working to streamline communication with parents so that messages are not sent multiple times a day. We are hopeful that these guidelines and expectations will keep our parents from feeling overwhelmed.
At the end of the year, students will be promoted to the next grade unless the student is significantly behind and a meeting has already been held with the parents to discuss the topic of retention. Summer remediation options for elementary students are under consideration, provided that schools are open at that time. A strategic plan for remediation and acceleration will be put in place to meet students instructional needs in August and September of the 2020-21 school year.
Calhoun Middle and Calhoun High Schools Highlights:
Updated Black/Gold Schedule
Direct instruction will be posted in online platforms starting April 13th
Streamlined communication with parents
Grading practices for the remainder of the school year
The issues become a bit more complex as we are working with topics related to graduation, grading, courses for high school credit, online learning, etc. We will explain these details through the information provided below:
April 6 - 10: Spring Break (No work assigned during spring break)
April 13 – May 15: Teachers are expected to develop 2 direct-instructional lessons a week with follow up homework/task/activity. Lessons are to be interactive where possible. Many live lessons should also be available as a recording for students to review later on the teacher’s digital platform. We have developed and shared the schedule below to help teachers and students prioritize their work each week and not become overwhelmed:
CMS Schedule: (after Spring Break)
Monday/Wednesday- Black days (ELA)
Tuesday/Thursday- Gold days (Math)
Friday- Fun Friday (Get outside, makeup day for missed work, etc.)
*Science, SS, and your 2 elective classes can fall on black/gold day depending on the student’s schedule.
CHS Schedule: (after Spring Break)
Monday/Wednesday- Black day courses (1-4)
Tuesday/Thursday- Gold day courses (1-4)
Friday- Fun Friday (Get outside, makeup day for missed work, etc.)
We have asked staff members to streamline their communication so that messages are not being sent multiple times a day. We have shared the following plan for communicating: Homeroom teachers should check in with their homeroom students via Remind once a week to see if there are any needs. Class Reminds should be sent on the black/gold schedule shared above as needed.
Current seniors who are on track to graduate, will graduate at a time and date that is safe to hold a ceremony. There will not be any end of the year state assessments. Students in grades 9-12, enrolled in a class with an end-of-course test, have had the testing requirement waived from the Georgia Department of Education. End of Course (EOC) assessments will not be replaced by a local assessment. Therefore, EOCs will not be 20% of the student’s grade. There will also be no final exams administered to students this semester. It is important to understand that the school year was nearly 75% completed when schools were closed. Therefore, in most classes, students completed a majority of the standards and competencies for their classes.
Our intent is to identify the remaining essential content required for student success during the next school year, while providing the opportunity for students to improve upon their current grades. Middle and high school students should actively participate in required classes for the remainder of the year, which will focus on this essential content. After Spring Break, teachers will provide all lessons online.
Assignments moving forward will be graded as follows*:
Missing work: Work will be marked as “Missing” in the comments section of the grade book until completed by the student.
Minimal work : Work that is submitted but does not meet teacher expectations will be provided feedback and returned to the student. The student will have the opportunity to resubmit the work for a 100 with corrections/revisions.
Passing work: 100 points
Work that is submitted and meets teacher expectations will be issued a 100.
Each class will have no more than two assignments a week and teachers have been asked to only assign essential work that is meaningful and relevant
*Students may raise their final grade as much as possible based on the teacher’s discretion. Student grades will not be negatively impacted as a result of COVID-19. No students’ grades at the end of second semester can be lower than the grade received on Friday, March 13, 2020.
If students cannot actively participate due to extenuating circumstances, this should be communicated to the student’s teacher and principal.
Dual Enrollment (DE) courses will be governed by the affiliated Technical College or State University. Teachers of DE classes will receive guidance about how to proceed and move forward.
While this school year has been anything but traditional, the Board is COMMITTED to continuing our tradition of excellence by celebrating the MANY accomplishments of the Class of 2020. As long as conditions allow, Calhoun High School plans to host the Senior Prom on Friday, July 31st and the Graduation Ceremony at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Details about these two events will be forthcoming.
Due to school building closures extending through the end of the school year, all other school sponsored events, dances, and trips have been cancelled. We are looking at creative ways to showcase our students through virtual awards ceremonies and other highlight videos.
Teachers and staff will continue normal end-of-the-year planning after school concludes for distance learning. Thank you for your patience and support during this time as we work to do our part to meet students’ needs and keep our entire community safe. Stay safe, stay well and Go Jackets!
STATE ANNOUNCES POSTPONEMENT OF PRIMARY ELECTION UNTIL JUNE 9
April 9 2020 - 12:00 p.m.
Today, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that, pursuant to the authority vested in him by O.C.G.A. § 21-2-50.1, he is postponing the Statewide General Primary/Presidential Preference Primary Election until June 9, 2020.
Yesterday, Governor Brian Kemp extended the current public health state of emergency until May 13, 2020. Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan and Speaker of the House David Ralston concurred in the Governor’s extension of the state of emergency.
“Due to the Governor’s extension of the state of emergency through a time period that includes almost every day of in-person voting for an election on May 19, and after careful consideration, I am now comfortable exercising the authority vested in me by Georgia law to postpone the primary election until June 9,” said Secretary Raffensperger. “This decision allows our office and county election officials to continue to put in place contingency plans to ensure that voting can be safe and secure when in-person voting begins and prioritizes the health and safety of voters, county election officials, and poll workers.”
Throughout this crisis, the Secretary of State’s office has been in close contact with county election officials across the state. Over the past week, the reports of mounting difficulties from county election officials, particularly in Southwest Georgia, grew to a point where county election officials could not overcome the challenges brought on by COVID-19 in time for in-person voting to begin on April 27. Additionally, current modeling by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia will peak around April 24, only days before in-person voting was scheduled to begin. While challenges will certainly remain on June 9, these additional three weeks will give the Secretary of State’s office and counties time to shore up contingency plans, find and train additional poll workers, and procure supplies and equipment necessary to clean equipment and protect poll workers.
Emergency authority is something that should be exercised carefully, and moving an election should only take place in the rarest of circumstances. While Secretary Raffensperger previously expressed concern that he did not have the authority to move the primary election again, the Governor’s extension of the state of emergency to a time that includes almost every day of in-person voting for a May 19 election is sufficient to allow the Secretary to exercise the emergency authority given to him by O.C.G.A. § 21-2-50.1 and move the primary election to June 9.
“I certainly realize that every difficulty will not be completely solved by the time in-person voting begins for the June 9 election, but elections must happen even in less than ideal circumstances,” said Raffensperger. “Just like our brave healthcare workers and first responders, our county election officials and poll workers are undertaking work critical to our democracy, and they will continue to do this critical work with all the challenges that the current crisis has brought forth. This postponement allows us to provide additional protection and safety resources to county election officials, poll workers, and voters without affecting the November election.”
The voter registration deadline for the June 9, 2020 election will be May 11, 2020. Early voting will begin on May 18, 2020. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-2-501, moving the primary election to June 9, 2020 will move the primary runoff to August 11, 2020.Pushing back the primary to June 9 gives Georgia election officials additional time to put in place contingency plans to allow for safe and secure voting, but pushing back the primary election any further could potentially have negative consequences on preparation for the November 3, 2020 General Election. Given existing deadlines to prepare and send ballots for the November election, particularly for military voters, moving forward on June 9 is the best way to ensure a successful election year in Georgia.
Absentee ballot applications for the upcoming primary election will continue to be accepted and processed by counties even if the application said May 19. Once county election officials properly verify the signature on the application, the voter will be sent an absentee ballot for the primary election now to be held on June 9.
Kemp updates Georgians; extends Shelter in Place until April 30, Suspends vacation rentals
April 8 2020 - 5:00 p.m.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on Wednesday afternoon announced he was extending the Shelter in Place order to fight COVID-19 through Thursday, April 30, 2020.
“All of the provisions of the state-wide Shelter in Place order will remain in effect,” said Kemp. “I thank everyone who has followed these directives. I applaud your patience.”
Kemp has also placed a suspension on short-term vacation rentals in Georgia, after concerns were raised that the state was becoming a vacation destination during the pandemic.
“As a result, and in accordance with public health guidance, I have also signed an executive order to suspend short-term vacation rentals across Georgia,” said Kemp. “To stop the spread of COVID-19, no vacation rentals shall occur in Georgia starting at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, April 30.”
Kemp said the term vacation rental means any transaction to lease or license residential property for residential or vacation purposes facilitated by a third party or a broker for 30 days or less between a corporation, partnership, person or any other entity or private person.
Kemp said there are a few exceptions to the suspension of vacation rentals.
“This order does not include hotels, including extended stay hotels, motels, campgrounds or purely commercial transaction,” said Kemp. "This order does not include any vacation rental that has been fully paid and executed and agreed to before 12 a.m. on Thursday, April 9. It also does not apply to leases to property to be used for someone’s primary place of residence. All state, county and local law enforcement are authorized to enforce this order but at no time shall law enforcement or any other state or local official be allowed to dispossess or evict occupants of a vacation rental.
“This action is one of many steps we are taking to keep people safe from this dangerous virus,” said Kemp.
Kemp said that he was taking a new executive order to protect the state’s most vulnerable citizens; those in nursing and long-term facilities.
“As we mentioned previously, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined that older adults, people of any age who have serious underlying health conditions and certain other groups may be at higher risk for complications from coronavirus exposure. The Georgia Department of Public Health has determined that COVID-19 is spreading through nursing homes, inpatient hospice, assisted living communities, personal care homes, immediate care homes, community living arrangements and community integration homes. We have dramatically increased access to resources for these facilities to mitigate exposure but we have more to do to protect these Georgians.”
Kemp said that earlier Wednesday, he signed an executive order extending Georgia’s Public Health State of Emergency through May 13, 2020.
“This measure will allow us to deploy more resources to communities in need, lend support to frontline medical providers and keep preparing as we brace for potential patient surge in healthcare facilities,” said Kemp. “I also, this afternoon, signed an executive order mandating more aggressive infection control measures in long term care facilities across our state.”
Some of those key requirements for long term care facilities include:
-Facilities must adopt Infectious Disease Transfer Protocols with nearby hospitals;
-Visitors and non-essential personnel are strictly prohibited except in compassionate care situations;
-If feasible, facilities must now provide in-room dining services and all group activities be cancelled;
-Employees must wash or sanitize their hands after any interaction with a resident;
-Facilities must implement protocols to screen residents for fever and respiratory symptoms;
-Employees must be screened before starting a shift;
-If an employee is exposed, to the extent feasible, he or she must self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to work;
-Facilities are required to implement universal and correct use of personal protective equipment;
-Facilities must use hospital-grade disinfectants for frequent cleaning;
-If possible, residents with symptoms of respiratory infection need to be placed together and facilities should have specific employees working only in the affected units.
“To ensure compliance, I am empowering the Department of Public Health, National Guard and Department of Community Health to issue directives to facilities to prevent, monitor and treat COVID-19,” said Kemp, saying he also signed an executive order today to activate an additional 1,000 National Guard members to assist in the COVID-19 emergency response.
Kemp also said that expanding access to testing remains a top priority for the Coronavirus Task Force.
“In addition to the US testing partnership with the state lab, there are several new private sector partnerships throughout our state,” said Kemp. “That includes the new CVS drive-thru facility at Georgia Tech, which is able to test 1,000 individuals per day at full capacity. We are excited to announce the Department of Public Health will begin a partnership with Ipsum Diagnostics, who recently received FDA approval. Ipsum is able to test 2,000 specimens per day and will be able to expand capacity in the near future. Testing will begin tomorrow at specimen collection sites across the state. Ipsum will provide results to those tests within 24 hours.”
Kemp said that with the partnership with the University System, CVS and Ipsum, this will greatly increase daily testing for the state, and that this testing does not include private sector labs that are also testing.
Kemp also mentioned last week’s decision to cancel school for the rest of the 2019-2020 year.
“This decision was not easy, but was incredibly important to keep our students, families and communities safe,” said Kemp. “Since that announcement, my staff has been in constant communication with educational leaders across the state, and we have worked with State School Superintendent Richard Woods to help districts to prepare and students to adapt. We will do whatever it takes to support our educators, our students and our parents during these challenging times.”
“We’ve got to continue to keep working, and our Task Force continues to do that around the clock to meet the pressing needs and future needs that we may have to honor those we are serving,” said Kemp. “We continue to remain hunkered down and prepared for any circumstance that comes our way.”
Kemp, Duncan, Ralston Announce Plans to Extend Public Health State of Emergency through May 13, 2020
April 8 2020 - 10:30 a.m.
Atlanta, GA – Today Governor Brian P. Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston announced plans to extend Georgia’s public health state of emergency through May 13, 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Under state law, the Governor may renew the public health state of emergency, which was otherwise set to expire on April 13, 2020. Lt. Governor Duncan and Speaker Ralston agree it is necessary for the public health emergency to be renewed and will not be requesting a special legislative session, which was tentatively scheduled for April 15, 2020.
“To ensure the health and well-being of Georgians, I will extend the public health state of emergency through May 13, 2020. This measure will allow us to continue to deploy resources to communities in need, lend support to frontline medical providers, and keep preparing as we brace for potential patient surge in our healthcare facilities. We deeply appreciate the hard work of Georgians who are sheltering in place, using social distancing, and helping us flatten the curve. We are in this fight together,” said Governor Kemp. “I appreciate Lt. Governor Duncan and Speaker Ralston continuing to work with us to ensure resources are available to proactively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I thank them for their support of an extended emergency declaration. In these unprecedented times, we ask Georgians for their continued patience and prayers, especially for first responders, law enforcement, and the healthcare workers caring for the medically fragile. They are going above and beyond to keep us all safe, and we will never be able to repay them for their sacrifices.”
“We must continue our aggressive fight against COVID-19,” said Lt. Governor Duncan. "By extending the public health state of emergency, we can ensure Georgians have access to every available state resource during this crisis. Together, Speaker Ralston and I are working closely with Governor Kemp to do all we can to make sure we are meeting the needs of every Georgian. The General Assembly will continue to remain vigilant and available to assist our citizens in any way possible."
"The entirety of our state government is working to protect the health and safety of our citizens, and I appreciate the work of our state personnel and first responders during this challenging time,” said Speaker David Ralston. “While we have difficult days ahead, we continue to coordinate with both local and federal partners in responding to needs as they arise. As Georgians, we will persevere and emerge stronger on the other side.”
UPDATE FROM THE CALHOUN-GORDON COUNTY COVID-19 PANDEMIC TASK FORCE
April 7, 2020 - 3 p.m.
We want to take this time to let our citizens know that Gordon County, Calhoun and leadership and public safety from all municipalities continue to work alongside each other to address issues relevant to COVID-19 within our community.
Today we held the sixth meeting via web conference of the Calhoun-Gordon County COVID-19 Pandemic Task Force comprised of all local governments, state government, public safety agencies, schools, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, public health, churches, non-profit organizations and our hospital. These weekly meetings serve as tools to make sure we are all collaborating together to stay up to date on our current situation as well as that around our nation. All of these above mentioned agencies came together over a month ago to begin to
put plans in place as a team. By working together and trying to be in front of the virus along with cooperation from our citizens we feel this is the reason we have been able to see lower numbers in our community than some of those surrounding us.
With twenty five cases currently and three deaths we obviously would like it to have not reached even that level and we pray for those who have been affected by sickness and death from this virus. We want to thank our citizens who have reached out to assist with needs, supplies, support and prayers. It will take us all to get through this as our community has to approach this as a team effort to defeat this invisible enemy by continuing to take the following steps:
Stay at home if at all possible.
Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and practice social distancing by maintaining 6 feet of physical separation from others at all times.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The next Task Force meeting is scheduled for April 14th . We will continue to work daily to be prepared to protect our citizens and visitors no matter the threat we are faced with. We continue to ask for your prayers for our community, our state and our nation.
AdventHealth Gordon releases Updated Visitor Restrictions Policy
April 6, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.
In order to protect our patients, visitors and team members from the spread of COVID-19, we are enacting an updated visitor policy for all AdventHealth locations effective immediately and continuing until further notice. This plan applies to all patients who are seen in any AdventHealth location.
No visitors are allowed to wait in the waiting room or other locations in the hospital. If a visitor meets one of the following exceptions, they will be expected to remain in the patient’s room until discharge.
All visitors will be screened upon arrival and must not have any symptoms of illness. If a visitor does not meet screening criteria, the visitor will not be allowed to enter the facility.
Adult Inpatient/ED Facilities:
No visitors will be permitted except under specific circumstances and by prior approval from the AdventHealth care team. All visitors must be 18 years of age or older. The exceptions are:
-One visitor for end-of-life care.
-One visitor in labor and delivery and postpartum.
-One visitor for patients undergoing emergency surgery related to a traumatic event.
-One visitor if the patient’s care team has requested the visitor to be a part of scheduled family training for patients with rehabilitation or for help with cognitive needs with approval from the AdventHealth care team.
-One parent and/or legal guardian for pediatric patients.
-The one designated caregiver should stay with the patient in their room during entirety of the patient’s stay.
One visitor will be permitted to accompany a patient to facilitate care or treatment such as an ambulatory visit, procedure or same-day surgery.
Visitors are not allowed in our adult cancer centers where care is being delivered to potentially immunocompromised patients.
Visitors can wait in the car or in designated area (per instruction at your hospital).
We encourage family, friends and loved ones to use electronic devices and apps to keep in contact with patients.
Shaw temporarily suspends many manufacturing operations in U.S. beginning Monday, April 6
April 5, 2020 - 5:00 p.m.
Shaw Industries has released a statement concerning the temporary suspension of many manufacturing operations in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As we all experience unprecedented circumstances that are impacting every aspect
of our daily lives, Shaw is committed to supporting our associates and their families, our customers and our communities through this difficult time," said the company in a statement.
"COVID-19 continues to impact Shaw, our economy, our customers and our suppliers. Due to the disruption of business associated with the pandemic, Shaw will temporarily suspend many of its manufacturing operations in the U.S. The staggered, temporary shutdowns will begin on April 6, 2020. The operations will ramp back up over time based on market demand, with some operations starting back up as soon as April 13, 2020. Shaw will support its associates during this time by filing for their unemployment benefits.
During these temporary shutdowns, sales, distribution, administration, and some manufacturing facilities will continue to operate to meet the needs of our stakeholders, including our customers, our associates, and the communities where we operate.
"Shaw has an expansive soft and hard surface inventory in North America and a diverse supply chain both in the U.S. and internationally. We currently do not anticipate any major service disruptions.
"Since the outbreak of this pandemic, we have developed comprehensive, emergency response policies and procedures to support our associates during these challenging times. We care about our associates’ safety while they are at work, as well as when they are at home and in the community. It will truly take all of us working together to defeat this virus.
"Highlights of our policies and procedures include:
If an associate determines he/she is unable to work or is uncomfortable at work, they can choose to stay home. This allows associates to make the best choices for their family. Associates may use their regular paid or unpaid time off options.
Should an associate have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or be placed into quarantine at the request of local health officials, a medical professional, or Shaw, the associate will receive paid leave for up to 14 calendar days.
For work taking place at Shaw facilities, we’ve implemented enhanced, extensive cleaning methods that occur at the beginning and end of every shift.
We have limited in-person meetings and are avoiding plant-to-plant travel.
Shaw’s Employee Assistance Program is available at no cost to associates and their households.
We’ve provided frequent updates regarding our policies and procedures and remind our associates of health and safety guidelines to follow at work and in their personal lives to maintain their health and safety.
"Additionally, while our facilities are shut down, the company will continue to enhance cleaning protocols and social distancing practices, and further train leaders regarding how to best operate our facilities during these unprecedented times.
"To learn more about Shaw’s COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts, visit https://shawinc.com/covid19."
Because Calhoun Cares makes first delivery meals to AdventHealth Gordon
April 3, 2020 - 8:00 a.m.
Because Calhoun Cares, a charity organization set up to utilize locally-owned restaurants and catering services to provide meals to employees of AdventHealth Gordon, along with those in the public considered at-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, made their first delivery of almost 300 meals to hospital workers on Wednesday afternoon, April 1.
Consisting of meals from King Street Market, Christian & Jakes, Thurston’s, Calhoun Coffee Company and Wall Street Catering, Because Calhoun Cares was the idea of King Street Market owner Denise Stripling, who enlisted the help of Mollie Surratt, owner of White Label Studio, a marketing agency based in Calhoun that services national brands.
“Needless to say, COVID-19 and the resulting impact has left the entire community of Calhoun-and the world around us- feeling shaken and uncertain. During times like this, we rely on the care and support of our community more than ever,” said BCC in a statement. “In recognizing needs across Gordon County, the food service industry has noticed that our local healthcare professionals are working unusually long hours and finding it difficult to get nutritious and delicious meals due to modified in-
Denise Stripling, second from right, and Mollie Surratt, far right, started Because Calhoun Cares as a way to utilize locally-owned restaurants and catering services to provide meals to employees of AdventHealth Gordon, along with those in the public considered at-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are pictured delivering the first meals to employees of AdventHealth Gordon. (BRANDI OWCZARZ/Staff)
hospital cafeteria services. Additionally, senior citizens around the community are suffering from limited food and isolation.
Dubbed ‘The Food Chain Project,’ Stripling felt Because Calhoun Cares would be the perfect way to keep locally owned restaurants in business while helping healthcare workers and those most at risk.
“This means that small business has work at a time when the work has been cut back to nothing or little to nothing,” said Stripling while making the first delivery. “It not only allows us to keep working and keep our staff working, but it provides for people who are really in need. We are not only providing for the employees of AdventHealth Gordon, but also the Infusion and Radiology Clinic, and patients that they refer to us that are at-risk that are receiving radiation or chemotherapy that do not need to be out trying to get their own meals.”
Lauren Roland Weaver, a nurse who works in the ER at AdventHealth Gordon, said that the community has been extremely supportive during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that support has lifted the morale of those working the front lines.
“Working in the ER in this time (of COVID-19), it was stressful at first just from not knowing the expectations,” said Weaver. “Here in Calhoun, I feel like we’ve had so much community response and help the whole time. There have been so many different companies donating PPE and meals for us, and it has been a great experience seeing so many people in the community come together in support. It feels awesome that so many businesses, through Because Calhoun Cares, have donated to help us; it helps us know we are not alone. Yes, we are on the front lines seeing this, but we’re not alone.”
The estimated daily cost to provide meals to the community healthcare workers and seniors is $5,000. Working on the marketing side, Surratt said Because Calhoun Cares has received a lot of initial support, but also need donations to be able to continue to provide the service in the ongoing weeks.
“Shaw Industries was our first corporate sponsor, and we’re incredibly appreciative of that. We’ve also received donations from local businesses and citizens in Calhoun. But we need even more to keep this going to be able to feed our healthcare employees and those at risk,” said Surratt.
According to Surratt, anyone who would like to be a community sponsor and make a citizen donation can do so by visiting the Because Calhoun Cares website at becausecalhouncares.com. A GoFundMe account has been established. Checks, made out to ‘Because Calhoun Cares,’ can be dropped off at any First Bank location (the Calhoun branch is located at 197 WC Bryant Parkway). There is also a ‘Text To Give’ option.
“All of that information can be found on our website becausecalhouncares.com and on our Facebook page by searching ‘Because Calhoun Cares,’” said Surratt.
In addition to needing community sponsors and citizen donations to help fund the meals provided to local healthcare professionals and senior citizens, there’s an opportunity for businesses to sponsor as well. For businesses wishing to become Business Community Sponsors, the company local will be included on each label of each meal and in all social media marketing efforts based on a minimum $1,500 donation.
For more information, visit www.becausecalhouncares.com.
SHELTER IN PLACE ORDER FROM GOVERNOR BRIAN KEMP
April 2, 2020 - 6:30 p.m.
Governor Brian Kemp has released his directives for the Shelter in Place order he has issued regarding COVID-19. That order will begin tomorrow night, Friday, April 3 at 6 p.m. The order expires at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 13.
Residents are ordered to shelter in place in their home or residence unless conducting essential services, traveling to and from jobs and other exceptions. The order allows Georgians to leave their home to buy groceries, purchase medical supplies, receive medical and behavioral health and emergency services, and engage in outdoor exercise as long as the minimum distance of six feet is maintained during activities between all persons who are not occupants of the same household. The order also states that all businesses, establishments, corporations, non-profits or organizations that are not critical infrastructure can only engage in minimum basic operations.
The order also closes all restaurant dining rooms but does allow for take-out and curbside services. All gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, theaters, live performance venues and amusement parks, along with body art studios, estheticians, hair establishments, massage therapy are to close to the public.
It is also ordered that while sheltering in place, persons can not receive visitors unless the visitor is providing medical, behavioral health or emergency services or medical supplies or medications, including home hospice; visitors providing support to conduct activities of daily living; visitors providing necessary supplies and services, such as food and supplies to work from home; visitors received during end-of-life circumstances.
Click HERE to read the order from Gov. Kemp
Click HERE to read the Shelter in Place Guidance
Importance of 911 screening questions highlighted after five firefighters with CFD have to self quarantine
March 28, 2020 - 12:00 p.m.
Public safety officials are asking residents of Calhoun-Gordon County that if calling E-911 during a medical emergency, to be honest when answering the specific screening questions that are now asked for medical calls during the COVID-19 outbreak.
While the screening questions have been in place for several weeks, a recent incident shows the importance of answering the screening questions accurately after five firefighters with Calhoun Fire Department were placed in quarantine for a week after the possibility of potential COVID-19 exposure.
According to Calhoun Fire Assistant Chief Terry Mills, the five quarantined ran a non-suspected “negative screen” cardiac call recently, performing CPR and working on a patient. The next day, at the request of the local medical director and other public health officials, the CFD was requested to put the five firefighters who responded to the call in quarantine.
Three of the firefighters self-isolated at their home, while the other two firefighters chose to use the City’s isolation facility set up for public safety use a few weeks ago.
Thankfully, due to a change in guidelines, the five firefighters were permitted to leave quarantine a week later. None of the five firefighters ever showed symptoms and the guidelines state that if a person quarantined shows no signs or symptoms for 72 hours, or if they show no signs or symptoms for seven days without a fever for 72 hours, they can leave quarantine.
Gordon County E-911 Director Debbie Vance said that incidents like this can be prevented if people who call the 911 Center for medical calls will accurately answer their screening questions for a medical call.
“Any medical call; a broken bone, a cardiac situation, or any sick call, we ask the caller if the patient has a cough or is running a fever,” said Vance. “Then we ask if anyone in the household is running a fever or has a cough. If the answer is ‘no’ to both questions, then we give it out to our first responders as a negative screen. If the answer to either question is a ‘yes,’ then we give our first responders the notification that it’s a positive screen, and we let the responders know whether it’s the patient that’s a positive screen or someone in the residence.”
Vance then described what steps are taken once first responders show up to a medical call that’s been identified as a positive screen.
“If it’s a sick call, we will ask if the patient is capable of stepping outside of the residence and meeting the paramedics, where they will be escorted to the ambulance. If the patient is too weak, then one person from the EMS unit will go inside in full PPE (personal protective equipment) and will assess the patient and ask them if they are able to walk to the ambulance with help,” said Vance. “If the EMS person is told the patient can’t walk to the ambulance, the EMS personnel will go back outside, get another person in full PPE from the unit, and re-enter with a stretcher.”
Vance said that the information provided from callers is crucial in protecting first responders.
“If it’s a situation where we can get information from the patient, then we are going to take every precaution that we can for the first responders,” said Vance, noting that if it’s a cardiac situation where CPR has already began in the residence, first responders will go in and take over to perform CPR. “If we feel it’s a positive screen, then we’re possibly exposing our first responders. So we’re going to take every precaution that we can. We are trying, by screening to the best of our ability, to eliminate (the risk to our first responders) as much as possible.”
It’s also important for the public to know that anyone who calls for medical help, whether a negative or positive screen is determined, will receive medical help.
“I just want to reiterate, if someone calls us for medical help, we’re going to get you help, regardless of whether it’s a positive or negative screen,” said Vance. “But help us to help you by telling us the truth when you’re screened. If our entire responder force gets quarantined, then who’s going to help? We’re going to get the public the help they need as quickly as possible, but we just ask that they help us in responding accurately to the screening questions.”