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Cases soar; several Pike schools close

As COVID-19 cases in Pike continue to climb, school officials announced the closing of several Pike schools, including the middle school, Ninth Grade Academy, PCAP, Zebulon High and Pike County High School. Students went to school Friday, Aug. 27 in order to get materials for distance learning this week and they will return to the classroom after the Labor Day holiday. Pre-K, primary and elementary schools will remain open for in-person learning. ’As most of you know, our school system has been hit hard with both Positive Cases of COVID-19 and the requirement that we quarantine students and staff that are identified as a close contact to each positive case,’ said a message from the school. ‘Our district is now at a place where we have a large percentage of students and staff at grades 6-12 who are not able to come to work or school. We are also having those same challenges with our bus drivers and are having difficulty getting all of the routes covered. Our hope is that next week gives everyone a chance to get healthy and allow quarantines to expire so that we are all ready for a fresh start on Sept. 7.’ Confirmed COVID-19 cases for the past two weeks in Pike have risen 71 to a total of 180 cases. There were 109 confirmed cases in the previous two weeks. As of Aug. 27, there were 128 COVID-19 positive students in the school system and 32 COVID-19 positive staff. There were 36 positive students at the middle school, 30 at the high school, 27 at the primary school, 20 at the elementary school, 14 at the NGA and one at Pre-K. There were a total of 747 quarantined students and 51 quarantined staff. Schools still in-person that have a larger than 2% positivity rate will follow a more stringent policy until numbers drop. Policy changes include temperature checks, structured hallway transitions, limited visitors, mandated quarantine for all non-vaccinated close contacts, increased communications and no gathering locations. Pike County has had 1,435 confirmed cases, 32 deaths, 15 probable deaths and 95 hospitalizations since the pandemic started. More than 5 million Georgia residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine with 43% fully vaccinated and 50% having at least one dose of vaccine. In Pike, 27% of citizens – or 4,950 residents – are fully vaccinated with 31% having at least one dose. The vaccine is available at retail locations, doctor’s offices and the Pike County Health Department on Tuesdays. To make an appointment, go to district4health.org or call 888-457-0186 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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