DeKalb County elementary school closes for 10 days after rise in COVID-19 cases

Exactly one month after the school year began, the DeKalb County School District announced they will temporarily close one of their elementary schools.

According to district officials, 18 students at Oak View Elementary have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last five days.  They identified another 90 students and 13 staff members as "close contacts," who are now in quarantine.

"We feel that this is the best decision for this school community at this time," said DeKalb County Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris.

The grades impacted include pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first, second and fifth.  The third and fourth grade classes have not had any reported cases.

"The reason why we've decided to close the school is because the number of impacted staff members and our confidence in the school's ability to maintain the high quality and effective operations of the school during this time," Watson-Harris explained.

The school will be closed from Sept. 3 to 13, though staff will be at Oak View Friday for students who need to pick up their belongings, electronic devices, or other learning materials.  Breakfast and lunch will still be served at the school for students who need it.  

Students will have independent study Friday and pick up with virtual instruction next Tuesday, Sept. 7.

While the children are at home, district officials said workers will clean and disinfect the school building in accordance with CDC guidance.

The district also plans to host free COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics to help members of the Oak View community.  The first one will be held Friday at the DeKalb School District headquarters in Stone Mountain from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"That will allow staff, students and families, if they need to, they can get a test and they can also become vaccinated.  We will have opportunities available for Oak View community so that those individuals feel confident when they report back to school," said Deborah Moore-Sanders, interim deputy superintendent for student support and intervention.  

DeKalb schools officials said while they cannot ask staff about their vaccination status, 89% of those who responded to a voluntary survey said they have gotten their COVID-19 shots.

The vast majority of elementary school students, however, are not eligible, because currently vaccines are only approved for those aged 12 and up.

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