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Gates County officials react to COVID-19

As state and nation leaders announce precautions to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Gates County officials are advising local citizens to follow those guidelines.

Some county services are impacted by this state and national emergency.

“We are encouraging everyone to call the county department they need assistance from instead of visiting in person as well as paying bills online,” said Gates County Manager Natalie Rountree.

She said there are signs posted (like the ones on all courthouses) asking people not to enter if they may have been exposed or are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

“Social distancing with not only customers but also with staff is being encouraged,” she advised.

The county’s Building Inspectors are requesting they be the only one on the inspection site unless otherwise arranged.

The Gates County Sheriff’s Office has suspended fingerprinting until further notice as well services for purchase permits and concealed carry permits.

Other changes may become necessary.

“As we all know this is a fluid situation and we will make changes as needed,” Rountree said.

All K-12 schools are closed statewide. That leaves these students without their normal breakfast and lunch on weekdays.

To address that situation, Gates County Schools, beginning Thursday (March 19), will use its transportation services to deliver breakfast and lunch to students at their homes. Parents have the choice to pick-up those meals from their child’s school. If they choose to do so, they need to notify the school to prevent a duplicative meal to be delivered on the bus route.

During their unexpected break from school, local students will still have homework to do.

Instructional packets will be available for pickup at the school level for students in grades K-5 on Wednesday, March 18 from 8 am to 10 am, 12 noon to 2 pm, and 5 pm to 7 pm. Instructional packets will be available for pickup for students in grades 6-12 on Friday, March 20 from 8 am to 10 am, and 12 noon to 2 pm.

In the event a parent cannot pick up their child’s instructional packet it will be sent with the meal delivery on Thursday, March 19 for grades K-5 and on Monday, March 23 for grades 6-12.

As of the current time, all schools are closed through Friday, March 27. It is expected, but not yet announced, that schools will be closed beyond that point.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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