CONYERS, GA– Rockdale County Public Schools (RCPS) Superintendent Terry Oatts was recently honored by the Georgia Senate for his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Georgia Sen. Tonya Anderson (District 43) presented the resolution during the Rockdale County Board of Education meeting on Feb. 17. The resolution recognized the leadership of Oatts in proactively establishing an epidemiology committee in fall 2019, continuously collaborating with public health and community agencies, and using public health data to guide COVID-19 mitigation measures.
The resolution also highlighted Oatts’ efforts to acquire telehealth services with the nonprofit Kids’-Doc-on-Wheels and make RCPS the first district in the state to offer COVID-19 testing for staff, students, and their families. The resolution outlined how RCPS worked with the Gwinnett Newton Rockdale Health Departments to schedule free COVID-19 vaccinations for staff as soon as they were available and how the superintendent led the way and by receiving a COVID-19 vaccination to set an example and encourage other staff members to receive the vaccine.
Upon receiving the recognition, Oatts said, “I am very appreciative that the Georgia Senate passed such a resolution acknowledging and commending my pandemic leadership. Most importantly, the Georgia Senate lauded our district’s commitment to prioritizing the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and their families.” He continued, “I am grateful to our Board of Education for their tremendous support of our district’s pandemic response throughout this public health crisis.”
The resolution, proposed by Rockdale County’s senators Tonya Anderson and Brian Strickland (District 17) and other senators, was passed by the Georgia Senate earlier this year. The resolution reads:
“Acknowledging the pandemic leadership of Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts and Rockdale County Public Schools; and for other purposes.
WHEREAS, Rockdale County Public Schools (RCPS) Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts took proactive measures in fall 2019 by establishing an epidemiology committee composed of local school district and public health officials for the purposes of addressing a wide range of potential epidemiological challenges to schools; and
WHEREAS, Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts addressed the COVID-19 public health crisis in a measured manner, guided by adherence to public health data and in a consistent collaboration and consultation with both local and state public health officials, and whereas Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts sought and acquired comprehensive telehealth services in partnership with the nonprofit Kids’-Doc-On-Wheels (KDOW) to provide school-based telehealth and mobile medical unit services for RCPS students; and
WHEREAS, these comprehensive pediatric services, which are available to all RCPS families on a voluntary enrollment basis, supplement existing school-based clinic services and can help reduce missed instructional time for students and missed work time for parents; and
WHEREAS, school-based telehealth services are essentially remote medial services that re conveniently provided to students utilizing remote technologies and do not require students to visit traditional brick-and-mortar medical facilities; and
WHEREAS, Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts negotiated the inclusion of free district-wide COVID-19 testing as part of the telehealth services agreement for RCPS students and staff and their families as a means of facilitating the safe resumption of in-person teaching and learning, beginning in the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year; and
WHEREAS, Rockdale County Public Schools became the first district in the State of Georgia to offer such free COVID-19 testing as part of comprehensive district-wide telehealth services; and whereas, to date, more than 1,500 COVID-19 tests have been administered to students, staff, and their families, which has enabled Rockdale County Public Schools to proactively identify cases and take appropriate action to effectively thwart COVID-19 transmission at its district’s schools and facilities; and
WHEREAS, the Human Resources Division of Rockdale county Public Schools proactively planned with the Gwinnett Newton Rockdale Regional Health Department to provide seamless access to the COVID-19 vaccine beginning on March 8, 2022, which was the first day that the vaccine was available to educators; and
WHEREAS, Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts publicly received his first dose of the vaccine at Springfield Baptist Church in Conyers, Georgia on March 8, 2022, as a means of modeling and encouraging all RCPS employees to follow suit and get vaccinated; and
WHEREAS, Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts has consistently commended the Rockdale County Board of Education for their steadfast support during this unprecedented public health crisis.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE that the members of this body acknowledge the pandemic leadership of Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts and Rockdale County Public Schools and thank them for their efforts to keep the citizens of Rockdale County safe during these unprecedented times.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of the Senate is authorized and directed to make an appropriate copy of this resolution available for distribution to Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts. Senate Resolution 357, by: Senators Anderson of the 43rd, Davenport of the 44th, Jones II of the 22nd, Strickland of the 17th, Merritt of the 9th, and others.
Adopted in the Senate January 10, 2022.”
Pictured above L-R: Georgia Sen.Tonya Anderson (District 43) presents Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Terry Oatts with Georgia Senate Resolution 357 during the Feb.17, 2022 Rockdale County Board of Education meeting, honoring him for his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.