In communication with families late Wednesday, Atlanta Public Schools issued updated guidance for families and staff in the fight to combat COVID-19. This comes as other districts are under fire for not requiring masks to be worn in schools after parent outcry.
While APS was one of the first districts to implement a mask mandate, Superintendent Lisa Herring has focused on making sure that the best strategies are used to combat the virus.
“We will also be doing surveillance testing every week. We launched that last semester we had it throughout the summer. We will continue so that at each school every week there’s an opportunity to be tested on top of the other mitigation strategies that are in place.”Lisa Herring, Superintendent Atlanta Public Schools
The mitigation efforts include:
- COVID-19 Surveillance Testing: The district will continue to provide weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing in our schools and buildings.
- COVID-19 Vaccine: APS continue to encourage everyone ages 12 years old or older to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is widely available throughout our community, and the Fulton County Board of Health has several options available as well, including mobile units.
- #MaskUp: APS is implementing a Universal Mask Wearing protocol in all schools and buildings. Masks are required for all students and staff in all schools and buildings during the school and workday, as well as all indoor after-school activities, clubs, and programs.
- Immunizations: Don’t forget, Georgia state law requires all students to have a valid Certificate of Immunization on file with the district, and immunization requirements for students entering or transferring into the 11th grade have been revised.
- HealthCheck: APS has partnered with Stratum Health Solutions to secure HealthCheck, an online tool that helps safeguard the health of students via daily wellness check-ins. Daily health screenings and temperature assessments have been the norm since in-person instruction resumed in 2021. The HealthCheck screener simplifies the process.
- Quarantine Guidance: As part of the district’s Health and Safety Guidelines, APS has prepared Quarantine Protocols that include specific details on who needs to quarantine after exposure to a positive COVID-19 case and who doesn’t need to quarantine after exposure. These protocols also include information about what counts as a close contact. Get all of these details in our guidance below.
In addition to these efforts, there will be daily health and wellness checks and the push for eligible staff and students to be vaccinated.
Atlanta Public Schools is home to 50,000 students with Thursday being their first day back in class. The district is reporting 18% of eligible students and about 58% of employees are fully vaccinated.