School Board Receives COVID, Testing Reports

The Jasper County School Board Tuesday learned that there have been 18 cases of COVID-19 in the school system since in-person learning started back last month.

Of those cases, four were discovered Tuesday—three studens and one staff member, and quarantine letters were sent home. Of the total cases, School Superintendent Kenny Garland said 11 were active cases, and that seven have returned to the school. Of the 11 active, there are five staff members and six students.

He also said they had a new protocol for those who had been exposed to a positive, but never were positive themselves, and never had symptoms. Those people who have not been re-exposed and without symptoms may get a negative test after 10 days and return to the school.

Mr. Garland said most of the cases in the system had been relatively mild, with only one hospitalization.

Mr. Garland talked about the procedures for entry to Friday’s football game vs. Putnam County. Only 1,200 tickets will be sold, and they are available at If it is not sold out, there will be tickets available at the gate. Masks must be worn to enter the stadium.

Board members present learned that revenues for 2020 exceeded projections, so the school received some $227,818 more than anticipated. Mr. Garland said that will typically go into fund balance, but he recommends some of it be used for critical areas, which he describes currently as technology being in need of help. He questioned how old some of the electronic boards and projectors were in the classrooms, and learned many were bought in 2013 and have not been replaced.

Mr. Garland and board members, along with staff member Eddie Roberts discussed janitorial supplies and the current janitorial contract. Apparently Athens Janitorial, the current supplier, is not able to keep up with the system’s needs currently, instead diverting supplies to larger clients such as UGA and Kennesaw State. They agreed to do a request for proposals (RFP) from other janitorial companies, and consider changing. The RFP will go out next month, and a decision will be made in November, with the change to take place in January.

The superintendent presented three months’ worth of fund raiser requests, which totaled quite a few. He said he would be looking at them closely and meeting with the principals, as he was concerned about the sheer volume especially during COVID.

Mr. Garland reviewed the advanced placement courses, and how local students fared last year. In AP Biology, Jasper County students scored higher than the state average and higher than the global mean average. They also excelled in several other courses.

Board members also discussed the trailers at the barn, and Mr. Garland said he would be setting up board sub-committees next month, and that would be one thing a committee will look into. They also talked about getting moving on a cross country trail now that the athletic complex is complete. The cross country trail has been addressed before, and they agreed to wait on the construction, but now it is time.

Board member Erin Lynch was absent, and Board Member Shannon Barton was late. Board chairman Bill Schilling conducted the meeting, with board members Towonder Dennis and Lewis Rice participating.

The board went into a brief closed session, then approved numerous personnel changes.