FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Students and teachers will return to school on Thursday, March 12, with the exception of Bear Creek Middle School and Woodland Middle School because employees who worked there have the coronavirus, according to the district.
Bear Creek Middle School and Woodland Middle School will be closed to students and staff until Monday, March 23. Woodland was scheduled to reopen earlier but that changed after an employee there tested positive for the virus, bringing the district's total to two employees, the district said Wednesday afternoon.
All central office employees and school-based employees, with the exception of Bear Creek Middle and Woodland Middle Schools, who work 210 through 235 days will report to their locations as usual on Wednesday, March 11.
The entire school district was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday for cleaning.
"All frequently-touched hard surfaces are being wiped down with a hospital-grade disinfectant that is proven to kill bacteria and viruses. School buses are also being cleaned and disinfected and going forward drivers will use specialized wipes to disinfect seats after completing each morning and afternoon run," the district said.
The school distract said staff members and families of students who had close contact to the sick teacher have been notified by the state health department.
"Families that have not been contacted by the county public health department are considered to have low risk of exposure and should self-monitor," a release said.
Every school but the two where the teacher worked will reopen with a regular schedule on Thursday March 12.
"The current case at Woodland Middle School does not pose any additional exposure to other locations and staff throughout Fulton County Schools; therefore, all other schools will re-open and continue regular schedules on Thursday, March 12, as previously announced," the release said.
The district said the employee is a teacher at Bear Creek Middle School in Fairburn and Woodland Middle School in East Point. The teacher started feeling sick on Friday and was admitted to a hospital. It was Monday when the district was notified by the Fulton County Department of Health that the employee was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Fulton school officials said they provided the department of health with a list of students and staff members that the employee might have had contact with.
Due to concerns of possible exposure, students and staff at the two schools were sent home Monday. Officials said Creekside High School was also released early due to its close proximity to Bear Creek Middle School and because they share several staff members between the schools.
"We support this decision and thank Superintendent Mike Looney for his leadership and for taking care to ensure students’ safety," state superintendent Richard Woods said.
Woods said they are advising all Georgia school districts to continue following the guidance of the Georgia Department of Public Health and their local boards of health. He added that widespread closures were not necessary.
FCS also decided to cancel all international travel.
There are currently six confirmed cases of the virus in Georgia. There are three in Fulton County and one each in Cobb, Floyd and Polk counties, according to the office of the governor.
In Georgia, the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low, according to officials. At 11Alive, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.11Alive.com/Coronavirus.
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