The Week with Dr. Lisa Herring – Week of March 22

This week, we are in the middle of our mass vaccination event for our staff at Mercedes Benz Stadium through our partnership with the Fulton County Board of Health. The vaccinations are being administered in two doses with the first occurring this week. The second dose will be provided on April 14, 15, and 18.

Our employees were among the first in Fulton County to get this round of vaccinations. We are so grateful to the Fulton County Board of Health, Fulton County Government, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium for their partnership.

We implemented our health and safety mitigation efforts starting with health screenings and social distancing protocols, we advanced to surveillance testing, and now we have reached vaccinations. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated. It’s an important component in our layered approach to keeping everyone safe.

Updated CDC Guidelines

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance on social distancing in schools, which would relax distancing requirements from six feet to three feet in some cases. We are reviewing these guidelines but because we are already in the last nine-week quarter of this school year, we do not plan to make any districtwide changes to social distancing in schools.

I should note that for the final nine weeks, 40% of our students returned to in-person instruction, and we have made accommodations for all of them. We have excluded no students from returning to face-to-face instruction if their families selected that option.

Throughout this process, we have used the guidance from the CDC in combination with other health and mitigation strategies in our schools and buildings. We will continue to take this layered approach in keeping our students and staff safe and will keep you updated as we look toward the 2021-2022 school year.

Five Days a Week in the Fall

Speaking of the 2021-2022 school year, we are excited to say that APS intends to return to five days of in-person instruction each week! We are opening our doors with wide-open arms to welcome all of our students back into our schools for face-to-face learning.

We don’t intend to have asynchronous Wednesdays and no simultaneous teaching. We will provide virtual engagement as an option for the fall. More information about the fall will be presented during the April 12 Board of Education meeting, and I encourage you to join us.

Employment with APS Incentives

Also, as part of our planning for the 2021-22 school year, our Human Resources team is providing a series of hiring incentives to encourage qualified teachers and substitutes to join the best team in public education today!

We’re offering:

  • $500 for 50 in-person, newly hired substitutes
  • $800 or $1,000 for teachers hired for Turnaround Schools
  • $3,000 Early Hiring Incentive for special education teachers, career and technical education (CTE) teachers, and dual-language immersion (DLI) teachers hired before June 1, 2021

Anyone interested in joining Atlanta Public Schools should visit apscareers.org!

Academic Recovery Academy

Here’s a reminder that registration begins next week for our Summer Academic Recovery Academy. The registration window will be open from April 1 through April 30.

Remember, all students can attend and are welcome to register for our Academic Recovery Academy.  However, select students will receive individual invitations and will be strongly encouraged to attend based on various academic criteria.

Our Academic Recovery Academy will be a full-day program from June 2nd through June 30th, and it combines an academic recovery model with a focus on literacy and mathematics with our Power Up programming for students in grades PK-12.  Learn more on our website.

Week After Spring Break

We have a week to go before Spring Break, so I want to remind you that due to an expected high volume of staff and family travel during Spring Break, we are taking the precautionary step of transitioning to virtual instruction for the week of April 12-16.

All students will participate in classes virtually and most staff will work remotely that week. We ask that those who plan to travel also plan to follow the travel guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, such as getting tested and quarantining.

That’s “The Week” for this week. I want to thank everyone across the Atlanta Public Schools community for the extra levels of engagement, especially as we held Cluster Conversations for every cluster in the district. The dialogue will inform our efforts for the future of our schools and our work to Reimagine Atlanta Public Schools.

You can re-visit the Cluster Conversations at www.atlantapublicschools.us/2021ClusterConversations.

Thanks again. Please stay healthy and, of course, be well. 

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