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TCSS urges safety over Thanksgiving, conducts antimicrobial cleaning

The Troup County School System will return the Monday after Thanksgiving. TCSS is asking students, faculty, staff and their families to exercise caution over the holiday so that cases in schools don’t spike after the break.

TCSS posted a video of Superintendent Brian Shumate on Friday, Nov. 20 in which the superintendent said a large number of cases after the break “could really send us into a tailspin.”

In an interview, Shumate said the school system would continually assess the siaution as it plays out after the break.

“We’re prepared to shut down parts of a school, an entire school, or the entire district, its not our hope or wish but … we’re ready to go virtual if we have to,” Shumate said.

The last weekly update from TCSS was posted Nov. 20. At that time, there were 10 students with a positive COVID-19 status (.082 percent of students). About 4 percent of students — 496 — were in quarantine due to possible exposure to COVID-19.

Twelve employees had a positive status, about .64 percent of employees. About 2.9 percent —54 — were in quarantine.

Shumate said everyone should consider altering their plans to avoid the risk of exposure, as his own family is.

He’s encouraging people to “be smart” and think twice about going to multiple large gatherings.

“Tomorrow morning it’ll probably be me and my mother and that’s it,” Shumate said. “And with masks on, and sitting across a big dining room area.”

Shumate said most of the other districts in nearby areas plan to return to school after Thanksgiving. Many colleges are not returning, though he noted that college students have more socialization and typically travel more over breaks.

TCSS paid about $33,400 to have all schools an district offices sprayed over the break with an antimicrobial treatment. Ecovasive, the company administering the treatment, is using MAP-1, a recently invented solution which forms a molecular bond on surfaces and punctures microbes. The solution is effective in killing viruses for up to 90 days.

“We’ve already done one [treatment] right at school starting,” Shumate said. “And we’re spraying. So, bottom line is we’re trying to make sure our buildings are really clean when people come back.”

TCSS is also restocking personal protective equipment, Shumate said.

Shumate reminded parents that students who have chosen to learn virtually this fall can return in January, but the window to fill out the necessary paperwork is closing soon. Parents must submit the form by Tuesday, Dec. 1 so that schools have enough time to reconfigure schedules for the next quarter.

Protocols for outdoor sporting events, including football, are not changing. With the start of basketball season, however, Shumate said TCSS will require the crowd to wear masks, unless there are families who attend together and are socially distant from other groups. Capacity at the games will be limited to 50 percent.

Shumate thanked people for their efforts to remain safe.

“We’re going to continue to need everybody’s support, and the way they can support us right now is to be safe over the holidays … it’s a communal effort,” he said.