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APS hosts COVID-19 vaccine clinics ahead of return of in-person learning

Four clinics were held at schools across the city as part of the district's reopening plan.

ATLANTA — At COVID-19 vaccine clinics across Atlanta, students, teaches and staff were getting their shots before the start of in-person learning on Monday

Alex and Robert Kottke are two Atlanta Public Schools students who decided to roll up their sleeves at the district-hosted site organized at Sutton Middle School. Crews also set up pop-up clinics at Long Middle School, Maynard Jackson High School and Mays High School on Saturday.

"We wanted to get like the fastest appointment possible," Alex Kottke said. "And it was also really close to where we live so it was really convenient for us."

APS started the spring semester with virtual learning as Georgia saw a surge of coronavirus infections across the state.

Both students said they're nervous about the rising number of COVID cases caused by the omicron variant. The brothers said getting a booster shot makes them feel better about returning to the classroom on Monday.

"If getting a booster and going to school is safe enough and everyone got the booster, then that would be enough to not have to go to virtual," Robert Kottke said. 

The vaccine clinics are part of a series of reopening measures the district announced in a press release before the new year.

The release said personal protective equipment was sent to APS schools. It also stated weekly testing will be in place for employees. Students will have the options to get tested as well. 

APS recently released data showing positivity rates were low across the district, among teachers and staff. The district's most recent surveillance testing shows the positivity rate is around 5%. For comparison, the positivity rate in Fulton County is more than 30%, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health's available data.

However, some students, like Matwej Moltmann, are still unsure about going back to class.

"I mean they’re doing a good job by offering clinics and also this first week being online was good, but I think it would be a better job to keep online for like two more weeks," he said after getting a booster shot. 

Moltmann said his main concern is that cases in the area continue to rise and students and teachers may get sick.

Parents who wish to enroll their child for surveillance testing in schools can sign up here. APS resumes in-person learning Monday.