School Announcement

November 18, 2020

The Macon County Health Department Board of Trustees is not supporting the Governor’s new school guidelines, however, they have voted to deem all school staff as essential workers should a school implement a district-wide mask mandate. According to school Boards, one of the issues causing virtual learning is staff shortages. By deeming all school staff as essential we have removed that barrier to learning. In our most recent cases, there have been no link to COVID-19 transmission in schools due to close contacts with teachers or other staff. However, mitigation measures in schools need to support deeming all staff as essential and that is the reason for the mask mandate.

Our most recent COVID-19 cases involving students paint a different picture. Students are not only spreading COVID-19 in their households, but they are also spreading it to other students in the school. Case studies show that some students who were exposed in school are also passing it on to other students that they were in close contact. This is the primary reason that the health department does not support the Governor’s guidelines. Schools’ mitigation efforts must support a decreased transmission from student to student before relaxed guidelines can be considered. Several of our public and private schools have disciplined mitigation efforts in place and those schools do not see the same transmission of schools whose mitigation measures lack the ability to slow or stop transmission.

Macon County Health Department’s efforts are to protect the health of the entire county and decisions cannot be made in favor of one group at the increased risk to others. The health department is taking steps with its Mask Up Macon County campaign to mitigate COVID-19 transmission in the community. They are asking schools to take extra mitigation efforts – to mask up – to slow transmission in schools. If schools and the community come together to support more disciplined mitigation measures, then COVID-19 transmission will slow, allowing students to remain in-seat.