Six local schools have additional COVID-19 Safety measures to follow

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From the Coweta County School System

Over the past week, the Coweta County School System, in consultation with the Georgia Department of Public Health, began applying a system of tiered interventions in response to growing case rates of COVID-19 in Coweta County and at some schools.

As a result of the tiered interventions and growing cases, Arbor Springs Elementary, Brooks Elementary, Newnan Crossing Elementary, Arnall Middle, East Coweta Middle and Madras Middle have had additional safety measures placed on them for a two-week period which includes masks or other proper face coverings must be worn by all students and staff in school or at indoor school-related events.

This approach allows the Coweta County Schools System to increase mitigative measures on a school-by-school basis when there is evidence of increased spread of COVID-19, but not have to affect other schools with lower case rates. The CCSS is applying these increased mitigation measures in order to maintain face-to-face learning in all of our schools.

Below is a step-by-step explanation and implementation of the additional safety precautions now being taken by the CCSS.

All 32 Coweta County schools employ baseline COVID-19 mitigative measures, including encouraging all individuals to follow CDC guidance to wear a mask while in a school, requiring masks on school buses per an ongoing federal order, social distancing where practicable, recommending self health-checks for students and staff, cleaning and hygiene measures, and participation with the Georgia Department of Public Health to perform close contact investigations where needed, with the Georgia Department of Health making final determinations of quarantine in those cases.

The CCSS School Health Program, as it carries out contact tracing investigations, also continues to track reports of COVID-19 positives reported in the CCSS schools.  See here also for weekly school-by-school numbers.

When the percentage of COVID positive cases during a given seven-day period approaches 1% or higher of the school’s total population (students and staff), additional mitigative measures (including limiting visitors to the school and some school activities) are employed at the school for at least a two-week period, or longer if new case rates do not decrease, including:

• Visitors and volunteers will be prohibited in classrooms and lunchrooms.

• Classroom desks will be placed in rows (or other configuration) and appropriately spaced to maximize social when possible.

• Student transitions will be limited, if possible.

• Large indoor gatherings will be limited or appropriately spaced when possible.

• Additional cleaning measures will be implemented.

• All students and staff members continue to be strongly encouraged to wear masks.

A total of 14 schools have taken such a step, based on their COVID positive rate (please note, this 1% refers to the number of positive cases, and not just preventative quarantines, which is a greater number). The schools which took  those additional measures, included (last Friday, Aug. 20) Arbor Springs Elementary, Brooks Elementary, Newnan Crossing Elementary, Ruth Hill Elementary, Welch Elementary, Arnall Middle, Blake Bass Middle, East Coweta Middle, Lee Middle, Smokey Road Middle and East Coweta High and (Tuesday, Aug. 24) Jefferson Parkway Elementary and White Oak Elementary.

If cases decrease during that period, then those additional measures can be lifted at the school. If, on the other hand, cases don’t decrease during that period, then the additional measures will be extended and – if the rise in cases remains significantly high – yet another tier of mitigative measures are employed (including requiring masks of all students and staff), also for a minimum two-week period.

On Tuesday (Aug. 24), six of those schools (who had received the first letter earlier) received a letter informing parents that an additional tier of mitigative measures would be employed at the school, based on the data showing high continued case increase at the over a week period.

These schools have additional measures placed on them for at least a two-week period, or longer if new case rates do not decrease, including:

• Masks or other proper face coverings must be worn by all students and staff members in school or at indoor school-related events.

• All visitors and volunteers will be prohibited in classrooms and lunchrooms.

• Steps will continue to be taken to increase social distancing where possible.

• Student transitions will be limited, if possible.

• Large indoor gatherings will be prohibited.

• Additional cleaning measures will be continued.

The schools which have added those measures included Arbor Springs, Brooks, Newnan Crossing, Arnall, East Coweta Middle, and Madras as mentioned above.

These steps are being taken on a school-by-school basis, and the data used mostly involves case rates percentages over a seven-day period, but may also include factors such as evidence of case clustering at a school, for example. Otherwise, however, if case rates improve, then the additional measures will be abated at the school.

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