Forsyth County Schools reported a drop in the number of students and staff with COVID-19 and the percentage of students quarantined during the third full week of school.
According to an email from Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden to families, 11 students and seven staff members currently have COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. That’s down from 23 and nine active cases in students and staff, respectively, on Monday.
Meanwhile, the percentage of students quarantined because of direct exposure to the virus has dropped from 1.8% on Monday to 0.8% as of Friday, according to Bearden.
Forsyth County Schools has 38,947 students and staff on school campuses.
The school district updates the number of reported COVID-19 cases in each school on weekdays by 6 p.m. Any cases reported over the weekend are included in Monday totals.
“I do think this is evidence that our proactive safety measures and guidelines for reopening have shown some early success,” Bearden said in the letter. “But this virus isn’t going anywhere, and it remains highly contagious. We must remain vigilant.”
Forsyth County Schools was one of the few school districts in metro Atlanta to offer in-person instruction to start the year. Most of the area’s largest districts switched to online learning as Georgia saw a surge in the number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus in July.
Forsyth County Schools pushed forward with its plan to reopen campuses on Aug. 13 with a host of new safety measures while also offer families the option to learn virtually through a new K-5 program and the Forsyth Virtual Academy.
The school district’s reopening plan faced scrutiny for some in the community, particularly for not mandating face masks, and two days into the school year Bearden had to send a letter to families after three students came to school with COVID-19 symptoms or pending test results.
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After the first full week of school, 30 students and staff reported that they had COVID-19. Another 35 cases were reported after the second week, and over 600 students were in quarantine at home after being exposed to the virus.
The school district saw signs of improvement this week. As of Thursday, Sept. 3, 15 new positive COVID-19 cases have been reported, and the number of students in quarantine dropped to about 270.
Despite the progress, Bearden said he was “a bit nervous” about the Labor Day weekend and upcoming fall break and urged families to continue wearing a face mask in public, wash hands frequently, cover-up coughs and sneezes and practice social distancing.
“If we will ALL stay the course, I believe we stand the best chance to keep all our schools open and our number of students in quarantine as low as possible,” Bearden wrote. “It’s a community effort.”