Economic Development Meets Young Students Needs in Tift County

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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Southwest Georgia in countless unpredictable ways. In Tift County, the Office of Economic Development at SRTC-Tifton moved quickly to answer one of the most pressing concerns: Young students who found themselves without a classroom.

As a part of their fall semester reopening plans, Tift County Schools designated three contingency levels:

  • Green, meaning no to low risk of spread
  • Yellow, meaning minimal to moderate risk of spread
  • Red, meaning substantial risk of spread

With the announcement of Tift County Schools’ Yellow designation at the beginning of the school year, students were only allowed to attend school in person two days per week on a rotating schedule. Many parents worried that their children would not have access to a safe, supervised environment while the parents were at work.

In response to these worries, the Economic Development team quickly developed the Supervised Learning Course, which served students from Pre-K to 6th grade. On their off days, students were able to attend a secure classroom setting at the College with a low student-to-teacher ratio. Proper health and safety procedures were strictly followed, including social distancing, handwashing, frequent classroom cleaning and sanitizing, and mask-wearing. Students brought in classwork assigned by Tift County Schools. Faculty assisted students in completing assignments, as well as providing additional learning activities.

“This crisis has made the Division of Economic Development more aware of immediate needs in our community,” said Director Kelly Daniell. “I am proud that we were able to develop timely options like the Supervised Learning Program in a matter of days to meet those needs.”

After serving 49 students for two weeks, the Supervised Learning Program ended when the school system moved to the Green designation and students were able to go back to a normal schedule. This program remains “on go” so that the Office of Economic Development will be able to quickly answer the call once again if Tift County Schools’ designation returns to Yellow.