Last spring, upon returning to in-person learning, Purpose Built Schools had fewer than 10 COVID-19 cases, with no evidence of in-school spread thanks to our safety and prevention protocols.
However, with low vaccination rates and the spread of the Delta variant, there is still reason to be careful. The health and safety of our students and staff remains our top priority and we therefore plan to implement the following protocols, which are consistent with the CDC, GaDPH, and APS guidelines.
While not mandatory, we strongly encourage vaccination among staff, eligible students, and families. The vaccine is our best line of defense. The research on its effectiveness and safety continues to be strong.
Universal Mask Wearing
All students and staff are required to wear masks on campus, but can remove masks outside.
We require mandatory testing for staff, exempting vaccinated individuals who voluntarily submit proof. Our schools strongly encourage all students to be tested weekly for COVID-19 at school every Friday.
Our classrooms are back at full capacity, but we are continuing physical distancing with 3 feet of separation between desks. We are also taking other precautions to support physical distancing, including minimizing use of shared spaces and tailoring class schedules to avoid overcrowding.
We continue to promote good hygiene and handwashing. Our schools installed hand sanitation stations throughout the buildings.
Ventilation and air filtering is critical, and staff are encouraged to keep doors and windows open wherever possible. Most classrooms, and all classrooms without windows, have an air filter. We continue to emphasize cleaning.
PLAN FOR POSITIVE COVID-19 CASES
While research shows extremely low transmission rates in schools when employing basic prevention methods, Purpose Built Schools Atlanta has a thorough plan in the event of positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff.
Testing & Contact Tracing
Weekly mandatory testing for staff (with the exception of those who voluntarily submit proof of vaccination) and opt-in testing for students at Price Middle School and Carver STEAM Academy will help our schools identify positive COVID-19 cases early. Students in the elementary schools will not be tested onsite. Each school nurse also has a supply of rapid COVID-19 tests to use in the event a staff member or student feels ill at school on a non-testing day. In this event, the nurse would contact you for your consent to test your student.
Schools will identify those who have been in close contact with individuals who test positive within 24 hours. We follow CDC guidelines for contact tracing.
Schools will notify the entire school community in the event of a positive case, but families will only receive a call from their school if their student has been in close contact with an individual who tested positive. Due to privacy concerns, we will not reveal the identities of those who are positive. If you do not hear from the school, your student is not affected and can continue to attend school.
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and close contacts of those individuals are required to quarantine for 7-10 days from school and all extracurricular activities depending on their vaccination status and symptoms. Details on when individuals can safely return to school are below.
Siblings of close contacts may still return to school while their sibling is quarantining. If the close contact ultimately tests positive for COVID-19, the siblings would then be considered close contacts and required to quarantine.
At this time, each school has a plan to support students academically while they are at home quarantining. Follow up with your school if you have questions and we will keep families posted on any changes or shifts to virtual learning.
Returning to School
If You or Your Student Tests Positive for COVID-19:
Symptomatic persons with confirmed COVID-19 can return to school after:
- at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared AND
- at least 24 hours have passed since last fever without fever-reducing medications AND
- symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, etc.) have improved.
Asymptomatic persons with confirmed COVID-19 can return to school after:
- at least 10 days have passed since the positive test AND
- the person remains asymptomatic.
If You or Your Student Are a Close Contact and Are Unvaccinated:
All unvaccinated close contacts MUST be quarantined from school and all extracurricular activities.
Unvaccinated close contacts who do not show any symptoms (asymptomatic) can return to school after 7 full days if they
- receive a negative COVID-19 test no earlier than day 5 of quarantine AND
- do not experience any COVID-19 symptoms during the quarantine period.
Unvaccinated close contacts who are asymptomatic but choose NOT to get tested can return to school after 10 full days if they do not experience any COVID-19 symptoms during the quarantine period.
If You or Your Student Are a Close Contact and Are Vaccinated:
Fully vaccinated close contacts are NOT required to quarantine if it has been at least 14 days since the completion of the COVID-19 vaccination series.
Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated (e.g. it has been less than 14 days since completing the COVID-19 vaccination series or all vaccinations in the series have not been received) should follow the guidance of close contacts who are unvaccinated.
In all cases, please communicate directly with your school administrators and teachers to determine when it is safe to return to school.
Have more questions? Please visit our COVID-19 FAQ.