The Week with Dr. Lisa Herring – Week of February 1

We expect another big week in Atlanta Public Schools as we continue to phase in more students for in-person learning. Our scholars in Grades 3 through 5 who opted for in-person learning will return this coming Monday, February 8, while our scholars in Grades 6 through 12 will return on Tuesday, February 16.

Our Return+Learn plan moves forward thanks to the progress of our health and mitigation efforts and our comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy. It is essential that all students and staff continue to adhere to our strict protocols when in our schools and buildings, including wearing masks and social distancing.

We streamlined our self-reporting process for students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed by launching a new electronic intake form. This process helps our Health Services and Human Resources teams respond even more quickly. That form is available on our website at

Comprehensive COVID-19 Testing Strategy

We successfully launched COVID-19 surveillance testing at Barack and Michelle Obama Academy, Burgess-Peterson, Morris Brandon, Cleveland Avenue, Humphries, Hutchinson, M. Agnes Jones, and Sarah Smith this week.

This is just one part of our comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy. Surveillance testing will soon be available districtwide to students and staff, and your school will communicate with you once testing is available. Visit our comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy webpage for testing locations,  protocols, consent forms and more at

THEO: Together in Hope, Equity, and Opportunity

In other news, we recently held the first THEO convening for our faith-based community. THEO stands for Together in Hope, Equity, and Opportunity and marks an ongoing effort to find ways our churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, and other centers of worship can help our schools and students, especially those most in need.

I want to thank everyone from the faith-based community who participated in our virtual event.

This marks one of the first major initiatives of our Center for Equity and Social Justice and is a precursor of more outreach and partnership opportunities across Atlanta in support of student success.

National School Counseling Week

As we close out the week, I want to highlight our hardworking school counselors as part of National School Counseling Week. Having served as a middle school counselor early in my career, I understand the essential role our counselors play everyday in helping our students succeed in school and plan for their future. 

Now more than ever, we rely heavily on counselors to ensure our students remain mentally, spiritually, and physically healthy in safe and secure learning environments. Let’s celebrate our counselors this week and every week for the critical role they play in supporting our students.

I want to thank you for staying the course with us through the phased implementation of our Return+Learn plan. We need and appreciate your continued support.

The health and safety of our students, teachers, and all staff remain at the forefront as we move forward. We’ve never lost sight of that.

As always, stay healthy and please be well. 

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