January 13, 2021

Dear GCMS Families and Staff:     

This letter is to inform you that in the time period from January 5th – January 13th GCMS has experienced 5 positive COVID student cases at the elementary school, 2 positive students at the middle school, and 6 positive students at the high school.  In addition, we have had 1 staff member test positive during that time period.  The total number of quarantined students from both school and home contact is currently 76 students from Pre-K through 12th grade which represents 7.9 % of our student population.  Zero of the positive cases are traced back to school based contact.  It is essential that all parties self-quarantine and communicate with school staff when exposed to COVID-19 to limit the number of close contacts and quarantines that occur at school.    The health and safety of GCMS students and staff is our highest priority, and we recognize the uncertainty and concern regarding the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the state and local health departments for best practices and procedures to protect everyone’s health.

To prevent further spread of the disease, GCMS Schools are taking the following steps:

Identification and notification of close contacts (i.e., persons who were within six (6) feet of a COVID-positive individual for fifteen (15) minutes or longer).

Placing staff members and students who are identified as having prolonged close contact to the COVID-19 case(s) in quarantine following the return to work/school flow chart. Close contacts will also receive a separate notification from the Ford County Health Department.   

Ongoing monitoring of students and staff for signs and symptoms of illness and evaluation of illness reports to promptly identify possible outbreaks. 

Conducting a deep clean and disinfection of the areas impacted by potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

We will continue to enforce safe practices to prevent, promptly identify, and respond to potential COVID cases, as follows: 

Students and staff who are ill with COVID-like symptoms will promptly be placed in a separate supervised area away from others until they can be sent home. 

Students are required to wear face coverings at all times, as previously directed and per school policy and State law.

Staff are required to wear face coverings at all times while in contact with children and other staff in the facility.

We are continuously sanitizing high-touch surfaces including door handles, stair rails, sink faucets, etc.

We are teaching students the importance of face coverings, social distancing, and proper handwashing: 

As we receive more information from the Department of Public Health and other entities, we will implement additional recommendations and guidelines.

As always, everyone should monitor their health and stay at home if they develop symptoms .  Sick persons should contact their healthcare provider to determine if testing is needed.  Anyone who develops severe symptoms  should seek medical care immediately.  If your child has had close contact with a known case of COVID-19, keep the child at home and notify your primary healthcare provider, your child(ren)’s school, and your local health department.  Due to public health expectations quarantined students will be moving back to a 14 day quarantine due to the inability to meet CDC and IDPH 10 day return criteria.  

We are committed to providing your child and our staff with a safe and healthy environment. Thank you for your understanding and ongoing cooperation with our COVID prevention policies and procedures as we work to help protect your children, your families, and our staff and their families. For any questions or concerns, please contact us at (217) 784-8296.


Jeremy Darnell

GCMS Superintendent