GC High School and Sonoraville High move to hybrid amid spike in COVID cases

News, Press Release
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Gordon County Schools has found it necessary to move to hybrid instructional model, as outlined in the district’s Back to School guidance in August, for both Gordon Central High School and Sonoraville High School beginning Monday, October 19.  The tentative return date to full-time, in-person instruction will be Monday, November 30, 2020.

The decision to temporarily move to a hybrid schedule for both Gordon County high schools is a precautionary measure and comes following an increase in active COVID cases, resulting in a higher number of precautionary quarantines. Currently, there are seven (7) positive student cases at Gordon Central and eleven (11) students who are under quarantine from Sonoraville High School because they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Gordon County Schools continues to carefully monitor the active cases that impact schools.  According to the Department of Public Health, the seven-day average of new cases reported increased 4.3% statewide; however, the seven-day average is down 66% state-wide from the peak on July 24.  Gordon County is not labeled by the DPH as having high-transmission indicators at this time.

During this change in the instructional delivery model, all high school students will continue to receive instruction from their assigned classroom teachers utilizing Schoology but will only attend school in-person every other week, based upon the student’s last name.  Having only half of the students in class at one time will allow for additional distancing among students within the classroom. Faculty and staff will work to prepare for this transition on Friday, October 16, and school will be closed to students.  From Monday, October 19 through Friday, October 23, all high school students will have one week of online learning through Schoology.  This will allow adequate time for facilities to receive extra disinfecting and sanitation and for teachers to plan for hybrid instruction.

Beginning Monday, October 26, students whose last names begin with the letters A-K will attend school for in-person instruction for one week, and students whose last names begin with the letters L-Z will complete lessons online through Schoology.  The week of Monday, November 2, students whose last names begin with the letters L-Z will attend school in person, and those with last names beginning with A-K will complete lessons online.  This pattern will continue until Thanksgiving break.  For a complete schedule, visit our webpage.

If a family has children in the same household who would be on a different schedule, please contact the school to make any necessary accommodations for children to attend together.  Additional details will be sent from the schools in the coming days.

Extracurricular activities will continue, unless otherwise notified by the school.  This closure does not impact any other Gordon County school, and all elementary and middle schools will operate as normal.

Check back for updates.

Gordon County schools roll back millage rate in split decision

Board of Education, News
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In a split decision, the Gordon County Board of Education approved a millage rate of

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Photo by Susan Kirkland
From left: Charlile Walraven, chairman of the Gordon County BOE; Kim Fraker, superintendent; and board member Bobby Hall, discuss the millage rollback.

19.053, a 0.119 drop from 19.172 in 2019 and a 0.947 drop from 2016’s rate of 20.

But some board members felt the rollback wasn’t enough.

“How much is enough in the bank?” asked Eddie Hall, board member.

According to Superintendent Kim Fraker, the system has enough reserve fund to operate the school system for 3.5 months or about $16.88 million.

“We’re building on the back of the tax payers,” said Hall.

WATCH VIDEO OF MONDAY'S MEETING

Fraker pointed out that looking back on the 2016-2017 budget, the school system was forced to furlough employees during the recession. She wasn’t the superintendent at the time.

“I don’t want to have to do that again,” she said. “I don’t think having 3.5 months in revenue is bad. We aren’t the lowest or the highest.”

She said the system needs $15.5 million to run the system for three months and $20.5 for four months.

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Photo by Susan Kirkland From left: boardmembers Chris Johnson and Kacee Smith listen during the millage rate discussion. Johnson voted for the rollback, Smith voted against, siding with Eddie Hall that it was not enough.

“In this year of uncertainty I’m not sure we should lower it more until things settle down,” she said, pointing out that some repairs and improvements have been sidelined until the economy is more stable.

With budget uncertainties due to COVID-19 and a decrease in enrollment to 6,338 from 6,593, a difference of 255.

According to Mendy Goble, the executive director of finance for the system, the economic impact of  enrollment is delayed and will be felt in two years.

“I’m not criticizing the budget,” said Hall, “but can we go lower?”

Hall and Kacee Smith voted against the rollback while Chris Johnson, Dana Stewart, Jason Hendrix, and Bobby Hall approved the rollback.

READ MORE GORDON COUNTY NEWS 

In other board news, the board:

  • Approved local board training plan for FY21 and FY 20.
  • Approved Perkins Program Improvement Fund FY20-21.
  • Approved request of proposal for a 2020-9- Ford Van XL-250.
  • Approved  memorandum of understanding with Georgia Head Start Program
  • Approved  two year contract extension for waste services.
  • A first reading to update the Equal Opportunity Employment, Sexual Harassment of Employees, Equal Education Opportunities, and Sexual Harrassment of Students after some changes in the language in the policies.
  • Announced the end of the sixth week grading period on September 22.
  • Announced Charter System Training for September 30 and October 1.
  • Announced fall break would be October 5-6.
  • Announced the next regular board meeting for October 12.

 

 

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