The process to find the next Polk County Schools superintendent completed its first stage last week.

Applications for the position were accepted by the district’s human resources department through Monday, Nov. 30, according to the Polk School District website.

According to David Robinson, the district’s human resources director, they received “a significant amount of applications” for the position, but declined to give the exact number.

Robinson did add that the group included people who are currently employees of the school system and those from outside the school system, even some from outside of the state.

The need to find a new superintendent arose last month when Superintendent Laurie Atkins announced she would be retiring in May at the end of the current school year. Atkins has been an educator and administrator with Polk County Schools for 30 years.

With the application deadline passed, Robinson said the school board will begin the process of vetting all of the applicants and set up the first round of interviews, which he expects to be conducted before the end of December.

The board will then narrow down the list of candidates before conducting more detailed second interviews in next month, with the finalist or finalists announced sometime in either late January or early February.

Robinson added that is an estimated timeline. Of course there is some wiggle room since Atkins is not expected to step down until late spring. Atkins has served as superintendent since September, 2017.

The school district also released new guidance last week for students who are placed in quarantine upon testing positive for COVID-19 from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

While the base quarantine period of 14 days remains the same if a student is not sick, there are some instances where the time could be reduced if certain criteria are met.

A student could be allowed to return to in-class instruction after seven days have passed from their most recent exposure to a sick person with COVID-19 if they get a diagnostic (lab-based) test after five days of quarantine and receive a negative result while also exhibiting no symptoms.

If a student does not get tested and does not experience any symptoms following 10 days of quarantine since their last exposure to a sick person with COVID-19, they may return to class.

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