The Athens-Clarke County government is scaling back public events and proceedings as Athens continues to shut down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
All Leisure Services programs are canceled through Mar. 29. Athens Transit will remain on its spring-break limited service schedule. Juries and grand juries won’t convene for the next two weeks, and people with Municipal Court dates are asked to call and reschedule. To ensure people have access to water for hand-washing, Public Utilities will not shut off water for nonpayment for the next 60 days. Thursday’s commission meeting is still happening, but the public is urged to watch it on Charter channel 180 or online at youtube.com/accgov rather than attend in person. For more information, click here.
Clarke County public schools will be closed next week as coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., although there have been no reported cases in Athens.
“We have been closely monitoring coronavirus (COVID-19) with guidance from the CDC, Georgia Department of Public Health, Clarke County Health Department, and the Georgia Department of Education,” CCSD interim superintendent Xernona Thomas said in an email Thursday evening. “As the situation has continued to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health and well-being of our school community.”
Like UGA, CCSD is currently on spring break. Schools will be closed next week, and officials will re-evaluate the situation on Thursday, Mar. 19, Thomas said. During that time, all schools and buses will be cleaned and disinfected. Thomas also asked parents to wash backpacks, coats and jackets.
Teachers and principals will be announcing details about distance and digital learning and school nutrition services, Thomas said.
Gov. Brian Kemp gave school systems the discretion to close for up to two weeks. Schools in Oconee, Jackson and Barrow counties are also closing.
Kemp has also told many state employees to stay home. The state legislature is in recess.
In addition, Piedmont College announced it will extend its spring break for a week and start online classes Mar. 23.
Earlier Thursday, the University of Georgia announced that it will be suspending classes for two weeks and told students not to come back from spring break or leave campus Friday.
USG Executive Vice Chancellor Teresa MacCartney told college presidents:
Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all University System of Georgia institutions will temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks to allow time for USG institutions to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia.
Students who are currently on spring break are strongly encouraged not to return to campus. Students on campus are asked to depart campus by close of business Friday, March 13, 2020, and to remain away from campus until March 29, 2020. At this time, students are not being asked to move out of their dorms for the remainder of the semester. For students who are unable to leave campus, please establish a mechanism to safely accommodate those students on campus.
Please activate your relevant business continuity plans and ensure the operation of online instruction should that become necessary. Further guidance will follow as the situation warrants.
College sporting events have been canceled for the foreseeable future.
Events that have been canceled or postponed include:
• The Fluke comics festival scheduled for Mar. 28 at the 40 Watt Club has been postponed until Sept. 5.
• The U.S. Navy Band concert scheduled for Mar. 15 at the Classic Center has been canceled.
• The children’s book festival at the ACC Library Mar. 28 has been postponed indefinitely and will be rescheduled.
• A Mar. 14 Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement conference on workplace equity and inclusion has been canceled.
• Canopy classes and performances are canceled through Mar. 29, although private lessons may continue to be taught at the instructor’s discretion.
• The St. Patrick’s Day festival downtown is canceled.
• The In Their Shoes 5K scheduled for Mar. 21 will be rescheduled.
• The UGA Relay for Life 5K on Mar. 22 and March for Meals 5K on Mar. 28 are canceled.
• The Firefly Trail Ticket to Ride fundraiser on Mar. 28 is canceled.
• The Athens United soccer season is suspended through Apr. 30.
• The Classic City Brew Fest originally scheduled for Apr. 5 has been postponed, and a new date will be announced soon.
• The Acro-Cats performances at the Morton Theatre tonight and Saturday have been canceled.
• The Bernie Sanders rally scheduled for Saturday morning will not take place, although early voting is still happening this weekend and will continue through next Friday.
Check back for more updates.
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