Just The Facts: Safety Protocols for 2021-22
NOTE: This article was updated on August 5, 2021, to reflect the most current information.
COVID-19 continues to be a serious safety concern as staff and students return for the 2021-22 school year. As part of our ongoing commitment to ensure a healthy learning and work environment, we will continue to take measures that mitigate risks in our district schools and facilities for students, employees, visitors, and others. The following outlines the current information and guidance regarding the district's response to COVID-19. Due to the nature of COVID-19, FCS guidelines are subject to change based on local data, and public health directives or guidance.
Download a one-page summary of these protocols in PDF format (updated Aug. 10)
- FCS strongly encourages all employees and students (12 years and older) to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccination is the leading public health measure for preventing COVID-19 infection. The following is a link to Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) on COVID-19 testing and vaccine information: COVID-19 Testing in Georgia | Georgia Department of Public Health and COVID Vaccine | Georgia Department of Public Health.
- Mask wearing is strongly recommended for all unvaccinated students and staff, except on FCS school buses where masks are required. If one is not fully vaccinated (14 days after second dose), wearing a mask/face covering in indoor public places remains strongly recommended.
- 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. Data will be taken from the FCBOH Epidemiology Reports and reported on our FCS Coronavirus Updates web page.
- 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.
- Students and staff should continue to keep a physical (social) distance of 3-6 feet between themselves and others when possible.
- Staff and students should wash their hands frequently and cover their mouth/nose when coughing and/or sneezing.
- 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.
- District facilities and schools should limit non-essential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations with people who are not fully vaccinated.
- Before entering an FCS facility, all visitors must complete a Wellness Check screening. We will not conduct temperature checks for visitors.
- All athletes and band members will continue to be screened daily and coordinated in small groups, when possible, for contact tracing purposes. Temperature checks are not part of the protocols. FCS will open at full capacity for all athletic events/contests and concessions will be open.
- As a reminder, if you are sick, please stay home.
- All FCS staff and students are required to report a confirmed positive case of COVID-19, a pending COVID-19 test result (regardless of the reason for testing), and a direct contact with person who is COVID-19 positive.
- 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.
- Reporting staff and students must wait for further guidance from the FCS Health Services Team, Talent Department, or public health officials after submitting a report. Do not report to work or school.
- Employees are not to report to work if they feel ill or have symptoms related to COVID-19.
- The FCS COVID-19 Response Team will case investigate all reports in consultation with public health officials. Staff and students are required to cooperate with response team/public health department nurses and respond truthfully to all questions.
- The district will update positive COVID-19 cases once a week on the FCS website.
- FCS will continue to utilize the Closing Matrix to switch to remote learning for classes, schools or clusters if warranted. This approach allows the district to review the impact of positive COVID-19 cases at the local level, minimizing the potential disruption on instruction.
- High touch areas and personal workspaces should be cleaned and disinfected.
- We have adjusted our HVAC systems to extend hours of operation to dilute possible contaminates. We are moving towards higher efficacy air filtration on all our HVAC systems.
- In addition, HVACs were adjusted to increase ventilation in accordance with CDC and industry recommendations, and MERV-13 filters, which are some of the highest EPA-rated air filters available, have been installed.
- Protective equipment such as clear acrylic partitions, enhanced cleaning products, safety signage, paper towel dispensers and hand sanitizer stations have been installed inside schools and administrative buildings for greater access.