APS to tests students, educators participating in face-to-face learning for COVID-19

Atlanta Public Schools will tests every student, teacher, and staff member weekly who is engaged in face-to-face learning.

APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring announced the groundbreaking plan with Viral Solutions at all 87 APS schools.

"We are making the test available for anyone who is inside of our school for face to face engagement so that is all of the staff, as well as students," Dr. Lisa Herring said Monday outside of M. Angus Jones Elementary School.

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Hours later a noisy educator protest erupted at the APS headquarters downtown. About 30 educators circled the building blowing their horns waving signs in support of teachers. Many of the protestors said the testing is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough.

"These schools are not safe. Educators should be respected. They do not want to go back until every teacher is vaccinated," Teacher Tracey Pendley, the 2020 Georgia Teacher of the year complained.

The rapid nasal swab test will require written parental permission and will be done weekly regardless of symptoms.

"Recognizing that COVID-19 is spread frequently through asymptomatic spread and so doing this kind of surveillance testing is forward-thinking and allows us to open schools safely, Dr. Benjamin Lefkove – CEO and Cofounder of Viral Solutions affirmed.

The price tag for the first one-third of students who agreed to come back for in-person learning is $2 million

"It is a tall task to test over 55,000 students. We will have hundreds on staff. But just to go deeper about Viral solutions, we are the largest testing center in the state of Georgia," President and co-founder Ron Sanders exclaimed.

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In personally learning has been slowed some as the coronavirus numbers in Georgia surge. The district has changed some of its plans moving forward to ensure students have a safe learning environment.

APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring says she has decided to slow the pace of a return to in-person learning for students in Grades 3 through 12.

For now, according to Herring, that means Grades 3 through 5 won't return to in-person learning until Monday, Feb. 8, with Grades 6 through 12 going back in person on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

APS students who chose virtually learning may make a new decision on March 18 to return to the classroom.

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