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OUR VIEW: Hoping for the best for TCSS

The Troup County School System announced Tuesday that it was shutting down Callaway High School for the last three days of this week.

Superintendent Brian Shumate said he was concerned about the number of staff members who had to be in quarantine due to COVID-19. Obviously, he was concerned about students as well, but a specific number of staff members have to be available to actually have in-person instruction. As of Tuesday afternoon, CHS had five positive student cases and four positive staff cases, resulting in 103 student quarantines and 19 staff quarantines. Callaway High also alerted parents to an additional positive case on Tuesday evening.

We’re sure parents are having to adjust work schedules, rethink their plans for the week and try to figure out how these students are going to get their school work done. That’s got to be stressful. And we’re sure parents of Clearview Elementary School students had those same concerns last week when CES had to be shut down one day due to rising COVID-19 cases.

But it’s clear TCSS is doing all it can to keep students safe right now. The last thing administrators want to do is close schools, but this pandemic is forcing people to alter their schedules and change their thinking.

Shumate said two things might’ve contributed to the latest outbreak. A professional learning day was held for teachers last week, plus around 1900 students returned to TCSS after being virtual students the first nine weeks. Mix those things in with some bad luck and you end up with a small outbreak.

Shumate said substitute teacher numbers are lower than usual, as some understandably didn’t want to work during the pandemic. That’s put TCSS in a bind at times, but overall the school system is trudging along as best it can, moving people around to make this school year work.

All of us are doing that in our own way. We’ve adjusted our work and changed the way we do things.

There are concerns that COVID-19 could spike again during the cold weather months, which are still ahead. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen, but it certainly could. We urge parents to remain as patient as possible as our schools juggle their way through this pandemic. If the pandemic numbers do spike again, there could be more school closures to come down the road. Understanding that, and being as prepared as possible, is the best advice we can give.