Dear Parents/Guardians:

This communication is to provide a summary of the positive COVID-19 cases within our school community since December 23 (as of this afternoon). In each of these unrelated cases, we worked with the Columbia County Department of Health to immediately contact any families or staff directly impacted:

  • One elementary school student
  • One staff member at M.C. Smith Elementary School
  • Two district staff members

In addition to the above cases, positive test results were reported for an individual assigned to the elementary school and an individual assigned districtwide. Since these individuals are not district employees, it is likely that they will not appear under HCSD in the state’s COVID-19 Report Card. However, we felt it was important to notify you of these cases as well.

Please continue to do your part in controlling the spread of COVID-19 by monitoring your family’s health, wearing masks or face coverings, practicing social distancing, washing your hands, avoiding gatherings, staying home if you are sick or awaiting test results, and asking questions if you feel things don’t seem right. If you need to report a COVID-19 related health issue, please contact your child’s principal or school nurse.

Looking ahead, we must continue to exercise caution and restraint amid rising case numbers and hospitalizations. While the metrics for entering one of the state’s micro-clusters are complicated, we are prepared to successfully implement the random testing of students and staff if required (a testing consent form will be provided in a separate communication).

We also ask families and staff to be prepared to go remote at any time, out of necessity, for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Staff shortages due to mandatory quarantines
  • Time needed for contact tracing
  • County, regional, or statewide mandates
  • Widespread infection
  • Precautionary measures to prevent widespread infection

Ultimately, our goal is to remain open for students and staff as long as we are able, as this is the best environment for learning. We thank you for your continued assistance in making this possible. Hoping the new year will bring each of you great health, joy, and peace.


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