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COVID-19 makes impact on Lake Country

March 20, 2020 - 06:00
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    The Morgan County Library is closed until further notice. BARRY DYCUS/Contributed
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    Signs tell library patrons that they will be closed during the COVID-19 crisis. BARRY DYCUS/Contributed

The coronavirus pandemic that has swept across the world is making an impact on Georgia’s Lake Country. Despit e no confirmed cases in Greene, Morgan or Putnam counties as of press time, local governments, schools, stores, churches and restaurants are taking necessary precautions to slow the spread of the dangerous virus.

Schools

In a letter from Superintendent Dr. Chris Houston, Greene County schools announced the closing of all its schools for three weeks. Houston said that the schools would close Monday, March 16, for two weeks. The schools will then observe spring break March 30 and, unless notified otherwise, students should plan to return to school on Monday, April 6.

Houston wrote that, “over this period, schools and buses will continue to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using COVID-19 approved cleaners. We ask our families to wash backpacks, coats and jackets as soon as possible as well. Your children’s teachers and principals will be sending out information regarding digital and distance learning in the near future.”

Morgan County Superintendent Dr. James Woodard also released a letter on March 17 after Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order closing all elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools in Georgia through March 31 to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in local communities. To comply with the order, Morgan County Charter schools will extend its closure through April 13, which includes the previously scheduled spring break.

Woodard said in his letter that, “We will continue to work and teach differently for the next three weeks by working remotely finding new ways to collaborate virtually and help support students. Students will continue to learn differently through printed materials or distant learning options.”

Woodard said buildings will be closed to the public but accessible to staff. Parents can pick up printed materials Mondays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at each of the schools. If there are any questions, contact the district office at 706-752-4600.

Meals for students

With the announcement of school closures, people took to social media wondering how local children, who typically depend on school meals, would get food.

In a press release from the Greene County School System, it announced that they would provide free lunches and a snack for children 19 years and younger. Meals are being provided Monday through Friday, through March 27. The meals can be picked up at 10 locations: Sycamore Apartments, Greshamville Fire Department, Richland Heights Apartments, Mary Leila Loft Apartments, Elliott Circle Apartments, Morningside Apartments, Siloam Community Center, Woodville Park, Sagebrush Lane at Broomfield Drive and the White Plains Community Center from 11 to 11:30 a.m.

Morgan County also issued a response saying that school meal services would be available for daily pick-up at Morgan County High School, Morgan County Middle School, Buckhead Baptist Church and Rutledge Baptist Church through March 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meal pick up will change to weekly on Mondays beginning March 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the same locations. The system said if anyone had questions to contact their students’ schools. Students have to be present to pick up a meal.

Recreation Departments

The Greene County Recreation Department announced that all youth sports activities, pickleball, open gym, racquetball, fitness center and pavilion rentals are suspended until further notice.

The Morgan County Parks and Recreation Services also made the decision to cancel all soccer, baseball, softball, track and aquatics programs through March 19. The department’s parks and shelter rentals would remain open to the public.

In a press release, Morgan County Parks and Recreation Director Lance Alexander said, “The Parks and Recreation Services Department will re-evalute the situation on March 19 and relay further decisions concerning programs at the time.

“Please continue to monitor the official Morgan County website morgancountyga.gov and social media for updates.”

Libraries

Both the Morgan and Greene County libraries announced that they would close as of March 15 until further notice. For updates on library closures, visit azalealibraries.org.

Senior Centers

According to Special Assistant to the County Manager Chris Edwards, the Greene County Senior Center remains open.

In a press release from Morgan County, it was announced that the Morgan County Senior Center was closed through March 19. Senior Center members are having meals delivered to their homes during this closure. The center will re-evaluate on March 19.