With the risk of COVID-19 spreading beyond healthcare facilities and entering Georgia’s schools, universities and other young, populated areas, State Superintendent Richard Woods released a statement Tuesday morning after Fulton County Schools decided to shut down all district campuses as a result of an employee falling victim to the virus.

“After being notified that an employee had been diagnosed with COVID-19 (coronavirus), Fulton County Schools made the decision to close all schools (Tuesday) and to make an announcement about next steps by 5 p.m. today. We support this decision and thank Superintendent Mike Looney for his leadership and for taking care to ensure students’ safety,” said Woods.

“We are advising all Georgia school districts to continue following the guidance of the Georgia Department of Public Health and their local boards of health.”

Woods reported that school closures are not recommended for other areas at this time.

Furthermore, all school districts should continue to take preventative measures, including providing ample time for students and staff to wash their hands and developing plans to continue student learning should a school district needs to close for several days.

“Georgians can be confident the safety of our students is our first priority,” said Woods. “I thank Gov. Kemp for acting proactively to protect all Georgians. We will continue to work closely with him and with Public Health to ensure schools have the most up-to-date information, resources, and support regarding COVID-19.”

Since confirming the first two cases in Georgia on Monday, March 2, both Newton County and Rockdale County superintendents and school administrators have offered reassurance to their communities.

On both the district websites, families can find links, tips and other information related to the virus.

RCPS is asking families and staff who plan to travel, or who have traveled in the past 14 days, to review and follow the latest CDC guidelines for travelers.

This includes staying home and monitoring your health for 14 days after returning to the United States from Warning Level 3 countries.

Level 3 countries now include China, South Korea, Iran and Italy.

Visit wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices for CDC travel recommendations.

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Covington native and proud Valdosta State alumna, Hunter has previously worked with The Covington News and Valdosta Daily Times. She started working for Rockdale/Newton Citizen in June 2018.

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