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Rain Fails to Dampen Spirits During Drive Through Head Start Graduation

May 7, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

It’s not the way they wanted to say goodbye, but the staff at the LBJ& C Smithville Head Start Center got a chance to give the Class of 2020 a big send off for the summer with a drive through graduation Wednesday morning.

Although a light rain fell at the start of the observance, the weather didn’t  dampen spirits as smiling faces greeted the children as they arrived to receive their rewards.

In prior years all head start classes, consisting of about 74 students,  gathered with their teachers, families, and friends at the county complex for a formal graduation program in May at the end of the school year but there had to be a change in plans this year due to COVID-19. For head start children, just like students in the DeKalb County School System, there have been no on site classes for several weeks.

During Wednesday’s observance, staff members were positioned six feet apart for social distancing as the parents drove through with their children. Students were handed completion ribbons, diplomas, and graduation hats went to those moving on to kindergarten. The children were also given art supplies, homework packets, and personal belongings they may have left at the center.

IMG_2453 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Head Start graduate Bucksley Haney received a perfect attendance certificate while  parents Megan Linder and Silvia Ortiz were honored with the “Top Volunteer” Award.

While the younger children are expected to return for another year of head start this fall, the older ones will be moving on to kindergarten in the DeKalb County School System.

“It was an emotional time for us but it gave us an opportunity to do a welfare check on the children, ask how they were doing, and get to see their whole families again. We love all our students and their families,” said Cathy Shehane, Director of the Smithville LBJ & C Head Start Center.

COVID-19 Drive Through Testing Going from 5 to 3 Days a Week at DeKalb Health Department

May 7, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

Drive through COVID-19 assessment days are being reduced from five to three days a week at the DeKalb County Health Department starting next week, May 11.

The National Guard will ONLY be testing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9am-3pm. There will be no testing at the DeKalb County Health Department on Tuesdays and Thursdays until further notice starting the week of May 11.

The health department has reuseable face masks for anyone needing them but please call in advance at 615-597-7599 to let them know how many people in your immediate family need a mask. Upon your arrival the health department staff will bring the masks to your car. Please do not come inside the health department to get your mask for the protection of the public and staff.

Anyone, with or without COVID-19 symptoms who has concerns, is invited to receive testing for COVID-19. This testing will be provided at no cost to participants, and those who come for testing can remain in their vehicles throughout the process of collecting their samples.

Nurses and/or National Guard medics will collect nasal swabs from those who want to be tested, and test results may be available within 72 hours after the samples arrive at the lab, depending on lab volume.

Tennessee’s Coronavirus Public Information Lines are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., CDT daily at 833-556-2476 or 877-857-2945.

DeKalb County’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases remains at 25.

As of Thursday, May 7, the Tennessee Department of Health reported that 760 people had been tested with 735 negative results and 25 positive. There have been no deaths in DeKalb County from the virus and 15 of the 25 persons tested positive have recovered.

At 25 cases, DeKalb County ranks 4th highest in the Upper Cumberland region behind Putnam with 162, Cumberland 85, and Macon 54, Other counties in the region with COVID-19 cases are Smith 23,White 15, Cannon 12, Overton 10, Warren 10, Jackson 7, Clay 6, Fentress 5, Van Buren 2, and Pickett 0.

WJLE Recognizes DCHS Class of 2020 (View Photo Gallery Here)

May 6, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

WJLE and participating sponsors are presenting a photo gallery of the DCHS Class of 2020 in May.

Graduation was set for Friday, May 15 on the DCHS football field but has been postponed until possibly June or July due to COVID-19.

Click on the link below to view the senior formals.

A WJLE DCHS Class of 2020 Photo Gallery box also appears on the left side of the WJLE homepage that you may click to view the photos.

Once you open the page, click each photo to view a larger image. The name of the senior you select is at the bottom of the photo or you may move your mouse over the photo to view the name.

There are 170 photos in the gallery divided up 48 photos to a page. After you view page 1 be sure to click the links for pages 2-4 ( top or bottom of the page) to view the remaining photos. The names of 13 seniors not pictured are also listed on the left side of the page above the sponsors.

The WJLE photo gallery page is sponsored in May by County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss, County Mayor Tim Stribling, St Thomas DeKalb Hospital, Gill Automotive, DeKalb Funeral Chapel, Sheriff Patrick Ray, Circuit Court Clerk Susan Martin, Trustee Sean Driver, First Bank, the DeKalb County Prevention Coalition, NHC Healthcare Center of Smithville, and DTC Communications.

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