GREENSBURG — South Decatur Jr. Sr. High School went to 100 percent virtual instruction as of Tuesday and will remain online only through Sept. 18.
SDHS students will return to school in person on Monday, Sept. 21.
South Decatur Elementary remains open to students, but the high school has been temporarily closed due to two students testing positive for COVID-19.
“Decatur County Health Department’s Sean Durbin said we could have stayed open, but according to contact tracing we had more than 12 members who were exposed, and we just don’t have that many substitutes,” said South Decatur Superintendent Jarrod Burns. “So, for everyone’s safety we thought it [closing the high school] was best.”
Contact tracing is the process of identifying persons who may have come into contact with an infected person and subsequent collection of further information about the contacts. According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, contact tracing generally begins with the identification of an individual as having a communicable disease (often called the index case). This case may be reported to public health or managed by the primary health care provider.
The index case is interviewed to learn about their movements, who they have been in close contact with, etc.
Depending on the disease and the context of the infection, family members, health care providers, and anyone else who may have knowledge of the case’s contacts may also be interviewed.
Once contacts are identified, public health workers contact them to offer counseling and/or treatment.
A number of SDHS football team members were potentially exposed as well, so Friday evening’s game with Tindley Academy has been cancelled.
“All extracurricular activities during these two weeks may or may not take place depending on the number of staff and students being contact traced,” Burns said. “Coaches will reach out to their teams in the near future to let them know what will take place over the next two weeks.”
Due to privacy rights and restrictions, the names of the students testing positive for COVID-19 are not being released.
“We were really pleased to be able to respond so quickly to the notification,” Burns said. “The safety of our teachers and students is our highest concern.”