ATLANTA — While the positivity rate has spiked above 30% in parts of metro Atlanta, the Atlanta Public School district reports its positivity rate for teachers and staff is at 5% over the past two weeks.
APS believes three reasons are behind this.
“That 5% positivity rate is based on the results of our surveillance testing," said Katika Lovett, assistant superintendent for APS student services.
While the district's rate is in the single digits for staff and teachers, Fulton County and Georgia’s rate has been hovering around 36% during the past two weeks, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
APS believes one of the reasons for the low positivity rate is 81% of employees report being fully vaccinated.
“We've been doing that for the past year," Lovett said. "We've had many different offerings for people to receive vaccinations, whether that's through our cluster-based drives that we've done, we've partnered with Fulton County with Mercedes Benz Stadium and also had an opportunity to do vaccination drives that way."
School administrators also attribute part of the district’s success to mask requirements inside APS buildings.
“We’re able to keep people in masks, coupled that with things like vaccination, so we're able to keep people in schools longer and keep folks safer. We're not passing or transmitting the virus as quickly," Lovett said.
Another way APS is trying to keep the COVID-19 positivity rate low is by offering surveillance testing at nine locations this Thursday and Friday from noon to 6 p.m. It's for teachers, staff and students, district leaders said.
APS also has a permanent testing site to prevent people with COVID-19 from walking through school doors.
“In addition to the surveillance testing sites, we actually also have another site at Douglass High School that is open, even to the community," Lovett said.
The site is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lovett said.
APS will host a COVID-19 vaccination event for eligible students ages 5 and older, APS families, and APS staff on Saturday, Jan. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.