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Approach

Barrow County School System leaders have utilized an intentional, data driven approach to planning for learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Detailed explanations are provided below. In addition, we believe that transparency inspires trust in this time of uncertainty. Further down this page, you can see how BCSS determined when it was safe to resume in-person learning based on community spread level. Select students returned to school campuses on Monday, Aug. 24. From there, we added cohort days for a few weeks and then welcomed all students who opted for in-person learning full-time on Sept. 21. We will be sharing the current COVID-19 case data for the district each week, which you can review at the bottom of this page.

Barrow County Virus Spread Level Determination

BCSS monitors data on a daily basis to determine the virus spread level specifically for Barrow County. Below, you can see where this information comes from and the key indicators. Please note that while spread level is an important factor in the decision to resume in-person learning, it is not the only factor.

Process

Each day about 3pm, we visit the Georgia Department of Health website, scroll down to the map titled “COVID-19 by County,” and click on Barrow County to see the rollover box with the most current information for that day. 

We then record the data in our spreadsheet.*

Next, this information is compared to the previous day’s data to determine the number of new cases for that day. The following is calculated with the new data: 
•    number of new cases per 100K 
•    7-day average of new cases per 100K 
•    14-day average new cases per 100K

Here is an example from our spreadsheet. 

COVID-19 Status Tracking spreadsheet

You will notice from day-to-day, the number of new cases can vary significantly. For instance on Sept. 5, there were 23 new cases. Then the next day on Sept. 6, there were only 6 new cases. This is the reason we look at both the 7-day and 14-day averages. This is also the reason the Georgia Department of Public Health started reporting new cases from the past 2 weeks and new cases per 100K population over the last two weeks. By using the average, we get a much better picture of trend.  

In the Status column in our spreadsheet above, you can see the color indicator of red, yellow, and green (not shown currently). This is the current spread level in Barrow County. Spread levels are based on the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 citizens. The three-tiered model sets the following color categories:

  • Green (low spread): Less than 10 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 citizens (14-day average)
  • Yellow (moderate spread): Between 10 and 24.9 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 citizens (14-day average)
  • Red (significant spread): Greater than or equal to 25 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 citizens (14-day average)

The below graphic explains how BCSS will operate based on spread level. This chart was first published on June 16, 2020, and this is the plan we are continuing to follow. Barrow County would need to be in yellow/moderate spread for a sustained period of time before resuming in person learning. Please note that spread level is one factor as decisions are made when to resume school in-person. 

Other things we monitor daily:

  • The United States is currently the leading country in the world according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine data.  Source
  • Where the state of Georgia is currently in numbers of total cases according to CDC data. Source
  • As of 8/11/2020, the daily average of new COVID-19 cases in Barrow County numbered 30 case(s) per 100,000 residents. In comparison, the daily average in Georgia was 32 case(s) per 100,000 and in the United States was 16 case(s) per 100,000. Source: Emory University Covid-19 Health Equity Report for Barrow County

*The DPH frequently adjusts the case data after initially reporting it. We utilize the data posted daily for consistency. 

Local COVID-19 Resource

On Tuesday, August 18, Northeast Georgia Medical Center Barrow presented to the Barrow Chamber of Commerce about the local situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to both organizations for allowing us to share this information with our BCSS families. Here is a segment of the overall program from that day that we think our families might find helpful and informative.

Current BCSS COVID-19 CASE DATA

The data below shows the total number of students and staff who are currently quarantined or isolated from work/school for one of the reasons defined below.

  • Positive COVID-19 Test: Individual has received a positive COVID-19 result from a laboratory
  • Direct Contact: Individual has made physical contact with, or been within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more, of an individual who has a lab confirmed positive COVID-19 test result or a suspected case
  • Suspected COVID-19: Individual has a combination of common COVID-19 symptoms (for which there is no other diagnosis or known cause)

The specific amount of time the individual must quarantine is dependent on case circumstances. Some cases may not be reflected in this information below depending on when we gathered the data. It will likely be reflected on the following week.

The cumulative staff total shows all cases since teachers returned to work on July 27.

Numbers refer to new positive cases of Covid-19 cases for students, or student direct contacts with someone who has a positive status, reported on the specified day. The amount of time any student has to quarantine varies based on context, so this is not a running count of students out due to Covid-19 quarantines on any given day.

To learn about how we notify families about suspected cases, see the FAQ section about in-person learning.


BCSS policies and procedures are intended to mitigate not eliminate risk. No single action or set of actions will completely eliminate risk of COVID-19 transmission, but implementation of several coordinated interventions can greatly reduce that risk.

Questions?

Please let us know.

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CDC resources

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention