Dear HCSD Families,

I am writing to inform you that a staff member at Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. This individual has not been physically present in school since Thursday, November 12th.

Please be advised that there was no exposure at school. Based on the staff member’s positive test date and their last day in school, the Columbia County Department of Health advised the District that no contact tracing is necessary. As a result, our schools will remain open and in-person instruction will continue as scheduled.

Please be reminded that we must all work together to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Families and community members can assist our efforts by promoting healthy behaviors and following these practices:

  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19 and how to identify them in yourself and others. The DOH has indicated that loss of taste or smell may be a primary indicator of COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals.
  • Stay home from school or work if sick, even if symptoms are mild.
  • Wear a face covering in areas where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (or sleeve), and then throw the tissue in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid large group gatherings, especially where masks are not worn.

While we understand that you may want additional details, privacy laws restrict us from disclosing or confirming any personal identifiable information. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.


Dr. Maria Lagana Suttmeier, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools