Superintendent Speaks on the Omicron Covid-19 Variant

Bobcat's Corner, Community

GCS Faculty, Students, Parents & Community,
As I am sure you are all aware, the Omicron Covid-19 variant is quickly spreading throughout our country, our state and our community. There are still many unknowns concerning the Omicron variant and I encourage all of you to take every precaution to keep you and your families safe.
On December 30th, 2021, the Georgia Department of Public Health released a new Administrative Order for Public Health Control Measures containing updated quarantine guidance for schools. This guidance is summarized below.
Tested positive, when to discontinue isolation:
• Had Symptoms:
o At least 5 days* have passed since symptoms first appeared and
o At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
o Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved
• No symptoms
o At least 5 days* have passed since the positive laboratory test and the person remains asymptomatic
o Note, if you later develop symptoms, you should follow the guidance for symptomatic persons above.
* If leaving isolation earlier than 10 days, you should continue to wear a mask around others for the remainder of the 10 days since your symptoms started, if symptomatic, or the remainder of the 10 days since your positive test, if asymptomatic. After 10 days, please continue to follow local masking recommendations or ordinances.
Contact to a case
• Not vaccinated for COVID-19 OR greater than 6 months out from completion of a 2 dose vaccine series or 2 months out from a 1-dose vaccine, without a booster dose:
o The recommended time period for quarantine is 10 days, but you may leave quarantine any day after 5 full days have passed since your most recent exposure occurred if you do not experience any symptoms of COVID-19 and continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days.
o It is recommended that you seek testing on day 5 after your most recent exposure, if possible. If a positive test is returned, please follow DPH guidance for isolation.
• Vaccinated individuals who meet the following criteria:
o It has been at least 14 days (2 weeks) but less than 6 months since the completion of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccination series,
o It has been at least 14 days (2 weeks) but less than 2 months since receiving a 1-dose vaccine,
o It has been more than 6 months since completion of a 2-dose vaccine series or 2 months since a 1-dose vaccine, but they have received a booster,
 NOT required to quarantine BUT should seek testing 5 days after exposure and wear a mask around other for 10 days after exposure.
If your child is vaccinated, it is your responsibility to let us know so we can verify through the GRITS system.
As you can see, the new guidance can be very confusing. If your child is exposed at school, there will be several factors that are used to determine your child’s quarantine status. Our staff are more than willing to work with you to answer any questions you may have. Although we have very little discretion regarding the guidelines, we are here for you to offer information that may help you navigate the situation in a manner that is best for your child.
Again, I would like to HIGHLY encourage everyone to take necessary precautions to stay safe at home, work, school and in public. Thank you.
Dr. Brian Ridley
Superintendent, Gilmer County Schools

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