Wednesday afternoon, five days before in-person classes were slated to begin for children whose parents chose that route, the Evans County Schools in Claxton announced that the start of school is postponed to Aug. 24.
Since an earlier one-week postponement, Aug. 10 had been set as the start date for face-to-face schooling. But families had the option of choosing at-home virtual schooling, which would have begun Aug. 17, after some instruction for parents.
“Like everyone, we have been monitoring COVID-19 cases. Unfortunately for Evans County, the numbers have continued to climb,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marty Waters addressed parents and students by email and automated phone message. “While we believe we have done everything feasible to prepare for a safe return, we do not believe it is wise to do so under the current severe community spread.”
Now both options are slated to start on the same day, Aug. 24.
Open-house events for students to meet teachers, slated for Thursday, were cancelled.
An amended calendar was posted on the Evans County school system’s website and Facebook page.
“We know this decision will not make everyone happy, and we apologize in advance for any inconveniences,” Waters said. “However, we believe this to be the best option under the circumstances. “
For months, Evans County ranked among Georgia counties with the lowest incidence of the coronavirus. But of the 236 confirmed cases in the county, 106 appeared in the last two weeks, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health’s update on Wednesday.
With a population of less than 11,000, Evans County now has an incidence of new COVID-19 cases equivalent to 991.9 per 100,000 people, placing now among the highest-incidence counties, but with so far only 12 hospitalizations and one death attributed to the disease.If a further delay of school is necessary, a tentative start date of Sept. 8 has been proposed, Waters said.