The Georgia School Superintendents Association’s (GSSA) 2020 Fall Bootstrap Conference at The Classic Center in Athens may have looked a little different this year, but with over 300 attendees and strict safety measures, the event was a resounding success. Conference attendees generated 672 hotel room nights and provided an estimated economic impact of $157,227.84 to the Athens community.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who spoke at GSSA, said, “The Classic Center has done a great job of working with [the conference] on protocols to be able to do this safely . . . I know the Athens economy and the state economy and the folks working here appreciate that.”

The Classic Center has implemented a number of new safety protocols since the COVID-19 pandemic began, including hand sanitizing station installation, requiring face coverings and signed affidavits, staff temperature checks, staggered entry and exits, and more. The Classic Center staff even went the extra mile to pursue the GBAC STARTM certification. After a ten-week application process they were awarded this accreditation, which is the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation for facilities. Receiving this certification means that The Classic Center has established thorough protocols and disinfection techniques to combat biohazards and infectious disease that have been vetted by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council.

When discussing the logistics of hosting an event in the time of COVID-19, Josh Hooper, the Chief Operations Officer for GSSA, said “we’ve been coming to The Classic Center for over 15 years to have our GSSA Bootstrap Conference, and we knew that in this COVID environment . . . The Classic Center was the first choice for us because they’ve always taken care of us every year, and making our attendees feel safe this year was no exception.”

Guests noticed safety efforts as well. Dr. Sherrie Gibney-Sherman, Superintendent of Foothills Education Charter High School and GSSA conference attendee, said, “This was the first in-person conference I have attended since March 13. I was a little uneasy attending. I was wrong. Your staff did an excellent job preparing your facility for this event. Everything was clearly spaced out and marked. Everything was clean. Food preparations and service honored CDC recommendations. Well done. You have many reasons to be proud. Thanks for making my first ‘return to in-person’ event safe. I am certain others feel the same way.”

To learn more about The Classic Center's safety protocols, visit


Located in Athens, Georgia, The Classic Center is a multi-use conference center, performing arts theatre, multi-purpose arena and outdoor, covered pavilion hosting conventions, conferences, meetings, weddings, concerts, sporting tournaments and special events for up to 6,000 people.

For more information contact:
Destiny Cornelison,

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