Samantha Fuhrey

Samantha Fuhrey

COVINGTON — The Newton County School System will continue all-virtual learning for students through Jan. 29 due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 in the community.

In a message sent to parents on Jan. 20, Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey said school system officials had reviewed the weekly COVID-19 data for the community and determined that the rate of transmission had not decreased to an acceptable level. The school system is looking at the data each Wednesday to decide whether or not students will continue with remote learning through the ensuing school week.

“After consulting with local medical professionals representing both the Gwinnett/Newton/Rockdale Health Department and Piedmont Newton Hospital, the decision has been made to continue in a remote learning setting for an additional week,” wrote Fuhrey. “All students will utilize online learning or pre-developed work assignments through Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. Students currently served in-person, as well as those who signed up to transition from remote to in-person for the second semester, will now report to school on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021.”

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Fuhrey said the decision was made in the best interest of the health and safety of students and staff.

“Our hope is that this short-term solution will aid in the reduction of the transmission of the virus in our schools and community,” she said. “We want to assure you that this is, indeed, just a short-term solution.”

Fuhrey also sought to quell rumors that the school system intends to transition to an all-virtual format.

“This is simply not true,” she said. “We will continue to monitor the numbers on a weekly basis and collaborate with our local medical professionals in order to make the best decision possible for our students and staff.”

While remote learning is in process, parents of regular in-person students may obtain free breakfast and lunch meals daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the nearest school or pick up meals from one a designated bus stop delivery locations. Visit this link to determine the location and timing of the meal delivery stop closest to your residence.

The NCSS School Nutrition Department in conjunction with the NCSS Transportation Department, will also deliver daily meals, including weekend meals on Fridays, to the following temporary bus delivery locations: Arbor Lake Apartments, Cedar Grove Community, Covington Estates, Five Oaks Subdivision, Jamestown, Long Branch Subdivision, Salem Springs, Twin Chimneys Subdivision, Wagon Train, and Wells Mobile Home Park. Delivery times may be found at the following link:

In addition to daily meals, NCSS School Nutrition will also provide weekly meal boxes for pickup at the following school distribution sites: Live Oak Elementary, Heard-Mixon Elementary, West Newton Elementary, Middle Ridge Elementary, and Oak Hill Elementary. The NCSS Food Bus will also stop at select locations throughout the county to distribute weekly meals. Location, days and distribution times may be found on the NCSS website at the following link:

Please note that current virtual learning students may continue to obtain free meals at their regular bus stop drop off site.

“We realize that in-person instruction is the most beneficial method of instruction for most of our students, and we look forward to getting our students back into our buildings,” said Fuhrey. “Our goal is to return to in-person instruction as quickly as possible. It is important to note that our ability to return to in-person instruction is directly connected to what is happening in our community with regard to COVID-19. Each of us plays an important role in stopping the transmission of the virus in our community. Please wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands, and stay home if you are sick.”

In addition to the district calls, school principals will also utilize School Messenger to provide parents with school-specific information as necessary. Parents with questions or concerns should contact their school administrator for additional details.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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