Student Health Services
- Health Services Home
- Operation Vaccinate 2021
- Parent Resources
- COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates
- Health Alerts
- Department Directory
- Monthly Health Awareness
- Additional Resources
- Archived Community Updates
COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates
Fulton County Schools works daily to ensure the health and well-being of our students and staff by developing, implementing, and delivering school health services throughout the year. Occasionally, extraordinary efforts are required to meet particular challenges, such as the recent concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19).
We are currently following the lead of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) as well as other local, state, and federal agencies to make sure we have the most up-to-date information available. This page has been established to provide these resources and communications from the district to our community members.
Documents & Reports
Due to the nature of COVID-19, FCS guidelines are subject to change based on local data, and public health directives or guidance. Below are a few of the sources and reports used in making these decisions.
FCS COVID Reports
From Fulton County Schools
- FCS FoodStop Food Distribution Program
- Georgia COVID-19 Emotional Support Line
- COVID-19 Resource in 13 Different Languages
From the CDC
- Facts About COVID-19
- Children and Coronavirus Disease
- CDC "After Travel" Precautions
- How to prepare and take action for COVID-19
From Georgia DOE & DPH
COVID-19 Protocols for 2021-22
The district recently published its "Back-to-School" website with important information for parents as students return on Aug. 9th for the 2021-22 school years. One of the Top Ten items on the List of New Things for 21-22 is our updated COVID-19 protocols. For more information please see our new article entitled, "Just the Facts: Safety Protocols/Recommendations for 2021-22 School Year".
UPDATE: On August 13, FCS published a Community Update reporting on the district's COVID mitigation polices and reiterated our priority to maintain a safe, uninterrupted learning environment for students. Superintendent Mike Looney acknowledged the spike in COVID-19 could jeopardize FCS' ability to sustain face-to-face instruction. FCS has offered expanded learning options for the 2021-22 school year so parents may find quality instructional environments that best meet the needs of their children. This update was posted on our FCS News Website and was also emailed directly to parents, community members, and the media.
UPDATE: On August 5, FCS published a Community Update reporting that 13 of the 14 cities in Fulton County that contain FCS Schools or Facilities have exceeded the level public health officials consider “High Community Spread.” Therefore, schools and facilities in these jurisdictions will require masks effective Monday, August 9. A complete list of affected schools can be found here and will be updated weekly. This update was posted on our FCS News Website and was also emailed directly to parents, community members, and the media.
UPDATE: On August 2, FCS published a Community Update regarding our COVID-19 Safety Protocols as students and staff return to school. Masks are required by the federal government on all public transportation, which includes school buses. Schools located in municipalities where the rate of infection exceeds 100 per 100,000 residents will require all students, personnel, and visitors to wear masks until such time as the level of spread drops. This update was posted on our FCS News Website and was also emailed directly to parents, community members, and the media.
Frequently Asked Questions
The district is compiling a list of the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and our Back-to-School plan. These questions come to us by phone, email, social media, and face-to-face conversations. We are providing the answers here for the convenience of everyone in our community. We expect this list to grow rapidly so please bookmark this page and check back often. If you would like to submit a question for consideration, please email us by clicking this link.
When will masks be required?
Masks will remain optional when conditions allow. The district’s mitigation strategy considers the rate of infection in each of our local communities. Schools located in municipalities where the rate of infection exceeds 100 per 100,000 residents will require all students, personnel, and visitors to wear masks until such time as the rate of infection drops below 100 per 100,000. Infection data will be taken from the Fulton County Board of Health Epidemiology Reports. Additionally, any FCS school or facility located within a jurisdiction where the state, county or municipality requires a mask be worn in public spaces will honor such orders until such time as it has expired.
What types of masks are appropriate?
The CDC approved masks include masks that do the following:
- Have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
- Completely cover your nose and mouth
- Fit snugly against the sides of your face and don’t have gaps
- Have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask
Please visit the CDC.gov website to get more information about face coverings.
How will schools support mask use?
The district will provide students, visitors and employees with masks meeting the criteria established by the CDC to include N95, KN95, multi-layered cloth washable and approved disposable masks.
Are masks required on buses?
Yes. In accordance with the current CDC order, all individuals will be required to always wear masks on school buses or any charter buses.
If a student is required to wear a mask based on direct contact, will they be able to eat and play with their friends?
Yes. Since lunches are being managed at the school level to maximize social distancing. Classes will stay together and while eating students will not be wearing masks. Also, while outside at recess, students will not need to wear their masks.
If a student/staff has been directly exposed to an individual with COVID-19, can they still come to school or do they have to quarantine?
All students and employees must notify the district if they have been directly exposed to an individual with COVID-19, received a positive COVID-19 result or are awaiting test results.
UPDATE: After receiving additional guidance from the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) and Georgia Department of Public Health (GaPDH), Fulton County Schools is updating the district’s notice for students who have had a direct exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual.
Per the GaDPH order, all persons with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, or those who have had direct contact with an individual residing in the same household with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, are required to isolate or quarantine in accordance with GaDPH guidelines. For more information on quarantine guidelines, please visit the GADPH website.
Students and staff who have had a direct exposure to COVID-19 while attending school or participating in school activities may be exempt from quarantine, providing they remain symptom free, wear a mask and don’t test positive for COVID-19. If a student exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, they should not attend school.
Here is a helpful flow chart provided by the GaDPH. Click the image to view a larger version.
What do I do if my student is feeling sick? Do they have to quarantine?
If your student is feeling sick for any reason, they should stay home. All students must notify the district if they have received a positive COVID-19 result or are awaiting test results.
What guidance for contact tracing, testing and quarantine/isolation is in place in the event that a student/staff in the class contracts COVID-19?
The district has a COVID-19 Response Team of nurses whose primary role is to respond to the following COVID-19 reports (positive cases, direct contacts, pending test results) made to the FCBOH. The nurse will engage the school administration for identifying students/staff, tracing/interviewing, and providing notices of quarantines. If a parent has made a COVID-19 report, their student should not report to school until they have received a call from a COVID-19 Response Team nurse.
Closing Matrix / Remote Learning
How many positive cases will determine whether a school must close?
See the School Closing Matrix. Specific closure information will vary by school and class.
What option do K-2 families have if they're not comfortable with face-to-face schooling while masks are optional when the CDC's metric shows that FCS should be masks-mandatory?
Families who do not want to attend Fulton County Schools for any reason need to research their best option with other public, private, charter, or home school options.
UPDATE: FCS has offered expanded learning options for the 2021-22 school year so parents may find quality instructional environments that best meet the needs of their children.
What instructional resources will my child receive when out of school due to testing positive for COVID?
All students out of school due to COVID-19, will receive asynchronous instruction with 3 hours of supplemental third party tutoring.
How will COVID cases be reported?
COVID-19 cases in Fulton County Schools will be reported weekly and published on our district website. Current and archived reports can be found here.
How will I be notified if a positive case is reported in my/my student’s school?
Notifications will be done through the contract tracing process with individuals with positive exposure being sent high risk letters and the school receiving general notification from the principal.
How should I notify the school if my student receives a positive test COVID-19 test result?
All students and employees must notify the district if they have been directly exposed to an individual with COVID-19, received a positive COVID-19 result or are awaiting test results. The district, in partnership with the Fulton County Board of Health, has created an electronic portal for parents/students and a separate portal for FCS employees.
- FCS student/parents must use the Parent Reporting Portal to make the COVID-19 report.
- FCS employees must use the Employee Reporting Portal to make the COVID-19 report.
- FCS student/parents must use the Parent Reporting Portal to make the COVID-19 report.
What happens if a student/staff is symptomatic or receives a positive test while they are in school?
School leaders have identified an isolation room. Student Health Services has developed protocols for the isolation room to ensure sick and symptomatic individuals are isolated from the general population. This includes a protocol for schools to follow if a parent does not/cannot immediately come to school to pick up student who is in isolation.
What if an individual tests positive for COVID-19, how exactly will the affected area be vacated for a period of 24 hours if it is a classroom?
The affected area will be cleaned by the appropriate custodial staff and the disinfected per guidance from and in collaboration with the Environmental Services Department.
How current are the FCBOH reports that FCS will use to decide mask optional/mandatory? Is there a lag?
The cases reported on each Fulton County Board of Health Epidemiology Report is dated on the front page. It reads “Counts shown reflect the number of cases as of 9:00 am on XXX date.” We encourage the community to look at the trends in their community. Data will be taken from the FCBOH Epidemiology Reports.
How is FCS monitoring our school community’s current transmission rate?
Fulton County Schools is utilizing the data reported by the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) Epidemiology Division. Data will be taken from the FCBOH Epidemiology Reports.
Will it fall to teachers to make sure "close contact" students are wearing their masks for 10 days?
Mask wearing for students who have had direct exposure begins with the parents. Contact Tracing nurses will notify the families and they will receive an email. Classroom teachers will be notified of the expectation. Just like any student behavior, teachers, administrators, and staff are expected to assist students in complying.
Cleaning & Disinfecting
How will the district ensure classrooms and buildings remain clean throughout the day?
Environmental Services has trained cleaning staff and has provided school leadership with the expectations associated with routine cleaning and disinfecting.
What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?
Cleaning physically removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects by using soap (or detergent) and water. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection. Clean surfaces and objects using soap and water prior to disinfection. (source: CDC)
Will hand washing stations or hand sanitizer be available throughout the school and when will students be required to wash their hands?
Staff and students should wash their hands frequently and cover their mouth/nose when coughing and/or sneezing. Hand sanitizers are available in multiple locations in the school and in classrooms. Reminders of appropriate washing routines and practices are provided verbally and through signage.
What will lunch and breakfast service look like during in-person learning?
Principals and cafeteria managers work together to create mitigation plans specific to their schools based on size of the cafeteria and number of students being served. Mitigation practices may include eating in classrooms, Grab and Go meals, staggered lunch schedules, etc.
When and how will physical distancing be maintained throughout the school day?
The principal and school personnel will work collaboratively to ensure as much distancing as possible in the school setting. This will include practices such as spacing desks out, using outdoor classroom or creating alternative lunch schedules.
What happens during lunchtime to "close contact" students who are required to wear masks for 10 days? Do they unmask and eat with their peers?
Lunches are being managed at the school level to maximize physical distancing. Classes will stay together and while eating students will not be wearing masks.
What types of COVID protocols will be in place at sports venues starting the in the fall?
At this time, masks for athletic events are optional for all outdoor events. They are also optional for indoor events unless the school is in a mask mandate based on the COVID Spread or following any jurisdiction where the state, county or municipality requires masks to be worn. The schools will communicate with their community and their opponents if masks are required for volleyball matches or competition cheerleading meets.
What types of COVID protocols will be in place at Band/Music events starting in the fall?
At this time, masks for band events are optional for all outdoor events. They are also optional for indoor events unless the school is in a mask mandate based on the COVID Spread or following any jurisdiction where the state, county or municipality requires masks to be worn. The schools will communicate with their community if masks are required for off-site events or competitions.