The Week with Dr. Lisa Herring – Week of February 8

Once again, I want to extend my admiration and appreciation to the Atlanta Public Schools community for the hard work and dedication you’ve shown in welcoming more of our students in Grades 3-5 back into our schools.

Next week, on Tuesday, Feb. 16th, we will see students in Grades 6-12 who opted for in-person learning return, and we are excited to welcome them back as well! Their return will complete the second phase of our Return+Learn plan to phase students back into our buildings.

Intent to Return Window

As we look forward to the rest of the school year, we will be launching a new Intent to Return declaration period on Wednesday, Feb. 17th. With this latest Intent to Return declaration, our families will choose a learning option through the final nine-week quarter. If you don’t complete the form by Monday, March 8th, your student will remain in their current instructional learning model.

Be on the lookout for our upcoming Intent to Return declaration launching on February 17th!

COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Enrollment

I am so grateful to the 500 students and staff who participated in the soft launch of our COVID-19 surveillance testing this week!

“Surveillance” testing describes regular, frequent non-diagnostic testing that detects the presence of COVID-19 even in individuals who may be asymptomatic. And, keep in mind that surveillance testing is only one part of our comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy.

Remember, our Return+Learn plan moves forward because of the successful implementation of our COVID-19 mitigation strategies, and — as we announced recently — APS is working with Viral Solutions to make COVID-19 Surveillance Testing available to all students and staff.

Although participation in surveillance testing is not required, students and staff across the district are encouraged to participate.

A signed consent is required at the time of the first test; however, you only need to provide a signed consent form once to participate in weekly surveillance testing. 

Consent forms, our privacy notice, and more information about our comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy are available on the District’s website at www.atlantapublicschools.us/COVID-testing.

Partnership with Atlanta-based Zep

Finally, I am continuously thankful for the numerous companies, organizations, and stakeholder groups that support our students and staff through various partnerships. I want to give a special shout out to a partner which happens to be a leading innovator of home and workplace maintenance and cleaning solutions that is based right here in Atlanta: Zep, Inc.!

As part of Zep’s long-standing relationship with our district, this company, which has serviced the community for 80 years, is supplying hand sanitizer to all APS classrooms. Zep will also provide in-classroom awareness and education resources to some of our schools next week, these schools include Maynard Jackson High, Hutchinson Elementary, Long Middle, King Middle, and F.L. Stanton Elementary.

Zep experts will help teach proper hand hygiene routines, which according to the Centers for Disease Control is known to reduce transmission of respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by up to 21%. These schools will also be provided with back-to-school safety kits, including reusable face masks, tote bags, and reference cards that reinforce hand hygiene best practices.

Thank you to everyone at Zep for helping to make our Return+Learn efforts a success!

And, thank you for watching. That’s “The Week” for this week. As always, stay healthy and please be well. 

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