Drew Charter School students quarantining early in the school yearDrew Charter School. Photo provided to Decaturish.
Atlanta, GA — Some students are Drew Charter School are quarantining due to exposure to COVID-19 just a couple days after starting school on July 27. According to Head of School Peter McKnight students appear to have been exposed outside of school and none of the cases are currently linked to campus.
The school is still performing contact tracing but estimates about 100 students were deemed to be in close contact, McKnight said. The students in quarantine will do virtual learning for the time being.
“We plan to continue to follow our protocols already in place, which includes a mask mandate and strongly encouraged weekly testing of students and mandatory testing of staff,” he said. “We also plan to focus on vaccination, mask wearing and social distancing as the most important mitigation strategies.”
During the school year, Drew Charter offers in-house COVID-19 testing for students and staff on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The school also offers testing on Fridays and Saturdays to capture families who wish to be present at their students’ testing.
The school’s other prevention measures include washing hands and avoiding crowds, according to the school’s website.
Temperature checks will be conducted daily for everyone entering the school facilities. Anyone with a temperature over 100.4 degrees are not permitted on campus. Individuals showing symptoms of illness will also not be allowed on campus.
McKnight was surprised by the relatively low vaccination rates among eligible Drew Charter students and said vaccinations are the most effective layer of protection against COVID-19.
“I am hopeful that we will be able to partner with our families to increase vaccination rates,” McKnight said. “Our initial cases represent a dramatic increase in positive cases compared to what we experienced during hybrid learning in the spring.”
He added that it’s incredibly important to keep schools open and in order to do that Drew Charter will need to continue many of the strategies the school used last year, not returning to normal.
“We will also need the support of policy makers to take the step necessary outside of schools to promote vaccination and limit community spread of the virus,” McKnight said.