GARRETT — Due to six positive cases of COVID-19 in its population, Garrett Middle School is suspending in-person classes this week, Principal Lucas Fielden announced Friday.
School officials are planning to return to classes in the building on Monday, Oct. 5, Fielden said in a letter to parents of students.
“This date could be extended if we see the further spread of COVID-19,” the letter said.
“This does not impact Garrett High School and J.E. Ober Elementary School, as they have not experienced COVID-19 at the same level,” the letter added.
Garrett Middle School has quarantined a large number of students in connection with contact tracing for its six positive cases, the letter said.
“After much consideration, we have decided it is time for GMS to temporarily switch to a virtual learning model to reduce further spread,” Fielden wrote.
“This decision was a collaborative effort by local health officials, our school nurse and GKB administration,” the letter added.
Garrett Middle School becomes the first school in DeKalb County to halt in-person instruction due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Virtual learning by internet began Sept. 28 and will continue throughout this week. The school will continue to monitor the number of positive cases of COVID-19.
“Now more than ever, it is important for our GMS families to follow social distancing and quarantine recommendations,” Fielden wrote. “To ensure that we can return to school in person, we need everyone to follow recommendations at home during this time period. The local health official is very concerned that if these protocols are not followed outside of school, we will continue to see the spread at GMS.”
Parents were instructed to call the school district’s nurse if a student shows symptoms.
“The staff will work hard to provide the best education possible during virtual learning,” Fielden wrote. He advised that students must participate in all of the virtual learning.
“With full student participation we won’t miss a beat,” Fielden wrote.
The temporary closing adds to a trying week for Garrett-Keyser-Butler schools. On Wednesday, Garrett High School Assistant Principal Jake Clifford died unexpectedly at age 36.