The Floyd County school system is going to hold two public hearings in December concerning the proposed closures of Glenwood Primary School and Cave Spring Elementary School.

The first hearing will be held at Cave Spring Elementary on Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. concerning plans for that school. The second will be on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. in the Armuchee High School auditorium concerning Glenwood Primary.

Up to this point, there’s been a lot of pushback from parents and community members. A local school governance team meeting Monday brought out a large group of people who opposed the change.

“This is not what I wanted to do,” FCS Superintendent Glenn White said early Tuesday. “This is what we’ve got to do.”

In the past several years, the school system has been faced with dropping tax revenues and declining student populations.

While the financial pinch continues, they’re still footing the bill for maintaining facilities designed for a larger student population.

The school system has too many buildings, White said, and not enough students. Closing the two schools would be just a part of a long term plan to ensure the system’s fiscal strength, he said, with more closings likely.

“This is the first step in a long-term process of making FCS financially sound,” he said in a recent school board meeting, adding that “All FCS faculty and staff members will continue to have a position within the school district regardless of school closures.”

This isn’t the first time the school system has shuttered a facility. Midway Primary School on Rockmart Highway was closed in 2015, and McHenry Primary will officially close after the sixth and seventh grade graders shift to the new Pepperell Middle School, once it is completed.

Also, despite suggestions to allow county school students with a COVID-19 exposure to choose whether or not they would quarantine, White said the school system will continue to follow state public health guidelines.

During a discussion with Northwest Health District Director Dr. Gary Voccio last Friday, school board members shared parents’ complaints concerning student quarantines.

At one point the school system allowed asymptomatic students who had been exposed to COVID-19 to return to classes voluntarily. The short-lived decision was reversed after an attorney for the governor’s office clarified the state’s position on the practice.

In a similar move recently, the Statesboro Herald reported the Bulloch County school district’s leaders said exposed students could return as long as they’re asymptomatic and masked.

Georgia Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey told the district to rescind the move days later, calling it “out of compliance.” She noted that violating the department’s standing quarantine order is a misdemeanor under state law.

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