Superintendent Gives Update Board on COVID-19

Board of Education, Community, Education

CLEVELAND, Ga – Superintendent Laurie Burkett gave the Board of Education an update on how the school system is doing amid the new strain of COVID. She puts out a community update on Fridays with the most current positive cases only.

“We had thought COVID was gone away, COVID has not gone away. We deal with it every day, we watch those numbers every single day,” stated Burkett.

Last Friday, there were 17 reported positive cases at the middle school since coming back from the weekend there are an additional 13 cases. There are currently 14 positive cases among the staff which included seven teachers. Five are set to return to work this week.

The report that will be given out on Friday will not include the cases that have already returned to school. Those that have been exposed and asymptomatic individuals are strongly encouraged to wear masks. There has been a pause put in place for visitors into the school, as well as a pause on the use of water fountains in the schools.

Other things have been done to help prevent the spread. The district meeting will be held virtually this year. The lunchrooms are spread out as much as they can be, and in some of the elementary school students are having lunch in the classrooms to make more space in the cafeteria. Classroom lunches are spread out as well.

For more information about COVID in White, County schools visit their homepage at

Superintendent Laurie Burkett giving her reports to the board.

Burkett additionally gave the current count of how many students are enrolled in White County schools. The count is a 10 count. There are currently 3,845 students with 37 of those being pre-k students.  This means the school system has 53 more students than last school year.

“Comparing apples to apples, we ended up this past school year with at 37,055 so we are up about 53 students right now,” committed Burkett.

School Projects

Assistant Superintendent Scott Justus gave the board an update on current projects that they have previously approved. The new stadium seats have been delayed due to materials and labor shortages. The hope is to have the seats in by the second home game

For more information about the stadium seats visit

The six new buses that have been ordered have also been delayed due to materials and labor shortages. The buses will hopefully arrive for use at the schools by next week.

The parking lot projects have almost all been completed with the expected of the road leading from the main road to the Mossy Creek school. The schools that have been completed are Jack P. Nix, Tesnatee Gap, and Mt. Yonah.

Justus also made an ESPLOST request for $77,100.96 for new equipment for the schools. His request will be voted on at the regular meeting on Thursday, August 26.

Director of School Improvement Cindy Free presented the board with her Strategic Plan Update and the District Improvement Plan drafts. The two work together to create a plan for the district. The District Improvement Plan had three goals to be addressed this school year.

Free broke them into categories, the first being academic. The academic goal is for 65% of kids in kindergarten through second grade to meet expected growth on their MAP test, and also for there to be a 3% improvement on the Milestone test.

The second was the graduation rate. The goal is to have a 92% or higher graduation rate for the class of 2022.

Free’s last category was social and emotional. Her goal for that is to decrease the number of kids in sixth through twelfth grade that self-harm on more than three occasions.

Director of School Improvement Cindy Free delivering her presentation for the Strategic Plan and the District Improvement Plan.

“The district improvement plan is very specific, there are certain things we have to do every year in order to do it. So we are really trying to make this a cohesive, flowing, one kind of thing, this is what we do in White County,” explained Free.

The board approved the early graduation request for Ethan Johnston.

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