What local school districts are doing to fight COVID-19 in the 2022-2023 school yearLPN Sherdarria McKissic vaccinates eleven-year-old Cing during a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the International Community School in greater Decatur on Weds. Jan. 26, 2022. Photo by Dean Hesse.
By Lucas Hill, contributor
Students are returning to class this month. Here’s a look at what local school districts are doing to fight the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms.
City Schools of Decatur
City Schools of Decatur start school on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
CSD’s protocols are subject to change based on the level of community spread for DeKalb County from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. DeKalb County is currently at a high level of community spread. CSD is recommending staff and students wear masks while indoors, and will require all visitors to wear a mask when inside CSD facilities.
Basic COVID-19 protocols include prominent signage, increased cleaning schedules, disinfection of high-touch surfaces, HEPA air-filtration modules in each classroom and large modules in large group spaces, hand sanitizer stations in high-traffic locations, a commitment to respecting others’ space, implementation of healthy hygiene etiquette and COVID-19 tests supplied to school nurses.
More advanced protocols include strongly recommended or mandatory masks, regularly scheduled vaccination events, recommended outdoor lunches, enhanced communication and outreach regarding vaccines and testing, screenings for school visitors and volunteers before entering CSD facilities, and COVID testing provided weekly and highly encouraged.
Additional COVID protocols that may be implemented as needed depending on CSD events and community spreads are also being utilized.
To view CSD’s COVID-19 mitigation strategies, click here.
Atlanta Public Schools
Atlanta Public Schools start school on Thursday, Aug. 5.
Masks will still be optional on school buses and in the building. Students and staff who end COVID isolation after five days will still be required to wear a mask for the remainder of the 10 days after they develop symptoms, or have tested positive if they show no symptoms. Regardless of vaccination status, students and staff exposed to a positive COVID-19 case should continue to wear a mask for the full 10 days after exposure. APS schools will continue to stock masks available for students who need them.
In terms of facility safety, APS has upgraded their HVAC systems and filters and provided air purifiers, has provided water bottle-filling stations, used fogging systems to clean buildings and buses, implemented twice-daily wipe-downs and overnight cleanings of high-touch areas, and provided hand-sanitizing stations in common areas and classrooms.
To view APS’s COVID-19 policy, click here.
DeKalb County School District
DeKalb County Schools start school on Monday, Aug. 8.
A spokesperson for the district says mask-wearing is encouraged.
“DeKalb County School District (DCSD) continues to strongly encourage everyone to wear face coverings,” the spokesperson said.
To prevent COVID-19 transmission as much as possible within schools, DCSD will implement physical distancing to the greatest extent possible, hand-washing and respiratory etiquette, cleaning and maintaining of healthy facilities, contact tracing with isolation and quarantine, watching out for symptoms and encouraging vaccinations. Hybrid or virtual schooling will be enforced based on COVID levels and CDC guidelines.
Staff will receive training on proper cleaning and disinfection of their classrooms, facility and bus cleaning will be implemented, cleaning supplies will be in frequent use and Indoor Air Quality testing will be implemented when there is a suspected issue in a building.
COVID-19 screenings will be available to any staff and students in need of it. Additionally, quarantines and isolation will be required of those who have tested positive for COVID/have been in contact with those who have tested positive for COVID.
To view DCSD’s COVID-19 protocols, click here.
Local school districts are following the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines and are all mask optional due to state law that gives parents an option to opt-out of mask mandates.
For more information on school vaccines your child is recommended to receive before returning to school, click here.