TIFTON — School Superintendent Adam Hathaway shared the latest COVID-19 updates with the Tift County Board of Education at the virtual work session Sept. 8.
Hathaway said the school system started sharing an informational graphic with updated positive case numbers every week.
“We have done our best to try and be transparent with everybody in our community so that they know what numbers we’re looking at from week to week,” he said. “This is not a conglomeration of cases; this is a snapshot of what a seven-day window looks like for us as far as positive cases. It is a snapshot on that day of the number of people that are quarantined.”
The graphic shares the total number of students in the entire school system, the number who have tested positive and the number quarantined. It shows the same information for teachers and staff.
Hathaway said the number of people in quarantine does not represent those who have tested positive but have been quarantined for possible exposure. He said the daily numbers he receives from the health department – which includes the two week community spread rate – is currently at 0.34%.
“The trends are looking very, very good,” he said. “I am really hoping and praying that two weeks from now, when we’ve had time to see what damage may have been done from Labor Day weekend, I’m hopeful that our numbers will be able to remain in this way.”
Hathaway said while the pandemic forced teachers to move to teaching online with no warning, they have worked very hard to meet the needs of students and have ended up “light years ahead of other places moving into this year” with efforts to increase the graduation rate and get kids reading on grade level by the third grade.
“None of this is possible without the infrastructure that was already in place,” said Mickey Weldon, curriculum director. “That was from years of adding devices, One-To-One, adding wi-fi in our buildings, our digital resources we have. All that came together for us and we’re very fortunate.”
Robbie Dasher, chief operations officer, updated the board on ongoing projects, including construction on the new administrative office on 12th Street and redoing the tennis courts at Tift County High School.
Demolition at the 12th Street building is almost complete and the new interior layout is moving forward. Dasher said the building is in good shape for being almost 100 years old, but there is some termite damage and flooring issues, as well as some problems with the roof that will need to be fixed.
The tennis courts are in need of repair and resurfacing, and Dasher recommended they go with the low bid from Talbot Tennis for $67,658. He said all of the repairs should be completed before tennis season.
“They indicated they saw absolutely no reason that we would need to rebuild those courts,” Dasher said. “They felt confident they could come in and repair all 10 courts and get a good number of years of life out of those courts, maybe four or five years of life.”