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COVID-19 Report: This week’s impact on metro Atlanta schools, governments

By Ben Brasch, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga

COVID-19 is disrupting so much of life that it is difficult to keep up with the news.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has summarized the news of coronavirus cases reported in Georgia school systems and metro Atlanta governments this week. These are all fluid situations, so things might have changed by presstime, but visit for the latest news on the pandemic.


• The University of Georgia on Wednesday reported 821 positive cases in a recent five-day stretch. That’s nearly four times the total from the prior time frame, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The semester began Aug. 20.

The Red & Black reported that testing providers around Athens have seen an increase in those wanting to get tested for the virus.

• The student-run newspaper also reported that the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house was under quarantine after a member attended a chapter meeting without knowing they were positive for the virus.

ExploreGeorgia college leaders worry as COVID-19 cases rise before Labor Day


• For the first time since the pandemic struck Georgia, a Richmond Hill sports team will travel overnight for a meet, reports the Savannah Morning News. Richmond Hill Cross Country team will stay overnight Sept. 11 into Sept. 12 for the meet in Carrollton. The newspaper reported that officials said student-athletes will be paired with student-athletes they rode with on the bus as a way to limit exposure.


• Bulloch County Superintendent Charles Wilson told the Statesboro Herald that there is no threshold for when he would discontinue in-person schooling. The newspaper reports that roughly 6,000 of the district’s 10,700 students have selected to learn in person, with the rest choosing to learn online.

• According to The George-Anne, Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar on Tuesday blamed half of the cases there on Greek life and a rush before school started at Georgia Southern University.

• The Georgia Southern chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) expressed their concerns about returning to campus in a Letter to the Editor published by The George-Anne. “Many members do not feel safe coming to our campuses,” the unsigned AAUP letter reads. “The Georgia Southern chapter of the AAUP calls on the university administration to contact USG Chancellor Wrigley to request a move to fully online instruction.”

ExploreUpdated Metro Atlanta school news from the AJC


• The school district announced late Tuesday that it will offer tickets for upcoming sporting events to a limited group of fans, according to the AJC.


• The county schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale announced Thursday that kindergarten through fifth-grade students will return to classrooms on Monday, Oct. 5, according to the AJC. He added that special education classes for kindergarten through 12th grade will also have an in-person option.

• Marietta City Schools is set to reopen some classrooms for its youngest students (pre-Kindergarten through second grade) on Tuesday, reports the AJC. They hope to offer in-person instruction to older students in October and November.

• County commissioners approved hazard pay for transit workers,according to the AJC. It will be a one-time payment of $3,067 to 22 bus drivers who had been placed on leave April 15 through 17 when CobbLinc limited operations at the start of the pandemic.


• Those looking to get tested on Labor Day will have an option, at 5597 Buford Highway NE in Doraville (the paring lot of a former K-Mart store) from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, reports the AJC. The other two locations will be closed on the holiday.

• The local health board said it was consolidating two testing sites, according to the AJC. Officials said that sites at Greenforest Community Baptist Church in Decatur and Salem Bible Church in Stonecrest would be replaced by the former Sam’s Club at 2994 Turner Hill Road in Stonecrest.

ExploreAvondale Estates reckons with history, eyes a more ‘welcoming’ future


• In Albany, which was ground-zero for one of the worst outbreaks in America, city commissioners on Thursday passed a mask ordinance requiring face coverings, according to the Albany Herald. The newspaper also reported that a group gathered to oppose the ordinance with a sign that said “We DO NOT Consent” outside the meeting.


• Nearly every mayor in the county is threatening to sue the Fulton government over the county’s use of its $104 million in federal COVID-19 funds and stop them from using any more of the money. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that negotiations are tense but ongoing.


• Leaders with the coastal county’s education system this week explained the district’s reasoning behind their isolation strategy, reports the Brunswick News. Students have been back since Aug. 20.


• Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton, according to the Thomasville Times-Enterprise, told the City Council that the city was getting roughly $500,000 of federal aid. So far, the newspaper reported, the city got an advance amount of $147,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act money on August 1.

ExploreAJC On Campus: COVID-19 case updates


• The district is offering students the chance to learn in person if the viral spread doesn’t get worse. Starting Sept. 28, students with last names that start with the letters A through M can go to school in person on Mondays and Tuesdays, while those whose last names begin with the letters N through Z can go on Thursdays and Fridays, according to the AJC. Parents must decide by Sept. 14 whether to let their children return to physical schools.


• Valdosta State University has created a web page to update people about its COVID-19 cases, reports the Valdosta Daily Times.

• Valdosta City Schools is encouraging people to not visit, and remember that masks are required when students come back to school Tuesday, according to the Daily Times. That means parents can’t drop off their elementary-school children on the first day of classes.


• There were some reporting issues in Bibb County last week, reports the Macon Telegraph. Health officials found 381 duplicates in their data dump.


• As of Tuesday, people on Covington city property must wear a face covering, reports the Rockdale Citizen. The newspaper also reported that Conyers approved a resolution encouraging, but not requiring, residents to wear masks.

Southeast Georgia

• The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that two football games in the Chattahoochee Valley have been canceled due to the coronavirus: The Marion County High game against Washington-Wilkes had been scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, and Russell County High’s Friday night game at Park Crossing for 8 p.m. was canceled because a player tested positive.

• The Ledger-Enquirer reported Monday that the Muscogee County School District decided to begin in-person classes Sept. 14 for some students, and on Sept. 21 for all students whose families wish to do so. Online classes are still an option.

• The newspaper also reported that Muscogee school leaders approved furloughing employees to help the budget, which has been hit hard by the pandemic and its effect on tax revenues.


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