ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County is still finding new information from news of exposures in the Courthouse and offices shutting down, but now, Gilmer High School is responding to the general resurgance of the Coronavirus in Georgia as they officially announce cancelling this year’s prom.
Originally cancelled during the school year as responses and shutdowns were widespread in the spring and the schools were closed, opting for “distance learning” alternatives, the prom was rescheduled in April as Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs announced in a meeting that they would be attempting to hold prom in July to make up for the cancellation.
That date was set for this Friday, July 10, 2020.
Today, the high school released a statement on social media stating that they would be cancelling the make-up day as well. They stated, “We have been in constant communication with local authorities regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and after much discussion and deliberation, we have decided to cancel prom this Friday, July 10. This decision was made with a great amount of information pertaining to potential and confirmed cases in Gilmer County. The cases are on a continual rise due to recent events within the county, and our first, and utmost, concern is, and will always be, the safety of our students and staff.”
In response to being forced to cancel the event, the high school is offering refunds through a linked form that parents and students can use for the school.
The school asks for patience moving forward.
They also commented saying a final decision has not been made at this time regarding graduation. However, they did affirm that a decision would be made in the coming days.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Building, coordinating, and energizing a social function can be quite difficult, but doing one amid widespread quarantines and self imposed isolation is a completely different order, such as “Chalk Ellijay.”
We are here to support our community and lift the spirits of those around us. Please tune in until the end of this video for a fun way to stay positive and brighten someone’s day. We have always said that the Gilmer Chamber is a family and now it is time to show our community what this family is all about! #ThisIsEllijay
Posted by Gilmer Chamber on Friday, March 20, 2020
Gilmer County’s Chamber of Commerce has taken on exactly that task as they began a new event over the weekend. After an earlier video post from President/CEO Paige Green promising to help coordinate resources and business in the time of need. But, the video ended on a very different note.
Green said the Chamber’s two locations, the Downtown Welcome Center on the Square in Ellijay and the main office just off 515 in East Ellijay, now have baskets of chalk. What they are pushing to do with this chalk is building community and a neighborhood feeling by using the chalk to “Chalk Ellijay.”
A later post offered more details stating,
“(We get by with a little help from our friends.) In an effort to help lift our community’s spirit, we invite you to chalk your sidewalk or driveway with an encouraging message, snap a picture, and post it using #ThisIsEllijay so the community can see! Need chalk? Visit the downtown welcome center or Chamber office! We have chalk inside buckets for you. (Please only take one or two and leave some for your neighbor!) want to go the extra mile? Leave an encouraging message in the driveway of an at-risk/elderly/immune compromised friend and give them a call afterwards to let them know you’ve been by. (Let’s maintain social distancing 💪🏻) We will get through this together in heart.”
The idea of the chalk use is simple, but social media has been flooded over the last week from across the country with stories and videos of people do small things to build greater feeling and community.
From a man playing music in the common garden of an apartment complex for people to list to from their balconies to signs and gifts of people visiting elderly relatives outside the windows of their homes and apartments.
The local step is incorporating far more than just a few select groups though. The Chamber said, “We are here to support our community and lift the spirits of those around us… We have always said that the Gilmer Chamber is a family and now it is time to show our community what this family is all about!”
People are starting to take to social media, posting their own chalk art and messages, with even a few local businesses and restaurants joining in, too.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Announced in their March work session, the Board of Education is canceling this week’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Clear Creek Elementary School while Gilmer High School has also had its Reality Day cancelled.
During the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs announced publicly that the ceremony will be cancelled saying, “Due to the current health crisis, we will cancel the groundbreaking.”
However, instead of postponing and rescheduling the event, they will simply move forward without it.
Downs said that they did not want to delay the construction project, possibly pushing out the completion date. Downs said, “I did say we would postpone it, but we do not want to postpone starting the new elementary school. So, we are going to have to break ground with no ceremony.”
Reality Day for the High School has also been cancelled, originally planned for March 31.
However, this event, run by Gilmer Family Connection, is run in partnership with the schools for the students. The event cancellation comes during the first week of school closures for Gilmer as Gilmer Family Connection Director, Merle Howell Naylor sent out the statement today.
Naylor said, “It truly is with great sadness that I am canceling Reality Day that was scheduled for March 31st. The Gilmer County School system is closed this week and I’m sure it’s uncertain about next week with all the concerns about COVID19.”
Despite the cancelation, Naylor had only positive things to say for the large number of community members who were set to be at the event. Naylor said, “I truly thank you all for your willingness to volunteer for Reality Day and assure you that you will have an opportunity to volunteer next year.”
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Posted to their social media site, those in charge of this weekend’s St. Petrick’s Day Celebration have opted to cancel the event in the face of rising concerns of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Their statement said, “At the advice of local authorities and due to concerns over the CORVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) the 2020 St. Petrick’s Celebration and Pet Parade has decided to err on the side of caution and cancel the event.”
Other authorities in the county have already made statements on the virus, but no cases or reports have been seen in Gilmer.
The statement also noted that vendors and sponsors will be contacted individually for further details on St. Petrick’s Day and the financial side. However, they have already confirmed the event will return next year saying, “We thank you for your understanding and hope to see everyone at the 2021 St. Petrick’s Celebration and Pet Parade.”
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer Schools saw a special Friday as they celebrated the I Heart Ga Milk Day at Ellijay Elementary School with guests from the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
The event was hosted in Gilmer County as part of the state’s Georgia Grown “Feed My School” program from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Gilmer Schools’ Nutrition Director Linda Waters helped make the program possible along with staff and faculty of Ellijay Elementary and also hosted Misty Friedman, Farm to School/Nutrition Coordination for the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
Friedman commented on the event saying, “My job is to bring more Georgia foods to our Georgia students. And events like this just puts us on the front lines of all the great work that’s being done to support our Georgia Farmers and to really teach our kids where their food comes from.”
The celebration lasted through breakfast, serving hot chocolate milk with marshmallows early that morning and saw the staff wearing their I Heart Ga Milk t-shirts while Georgie the Georgia Grown mascot and the Chick-fil-A Cow mascot hung out with the kids. Staff handed out pencils and educational materials about “the benefits of milk.”
Friedman went on to say, “I love coming out and visiting with the schools and seeing the kids enjoy, literally, the fruits of the labor of our Georgia Farmers.”
See more photos at FYN’s Facebook Page.