Atlanta schools testing students and staff before in-person return next week

ATLANTA — Different districts are employing different rules to keep their students and staff safe and healthy as they return to school.

Atlanta Public Schools is doing so by testing all of their staff and encouraging students to do the same.

Hundreds of parents brought their children to Maynard Jackson High School on Thursday for surveillance testing to know for certain whether or not they’re sick.

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Todd Cannon brought his two kids, Sophie and Baxter, to get tested for COVID-19 before heading back into their classrooms on Monday.

“They’ve been doing it since the school year really started last year in the fall; every week they’ve been getting it done,” Cannon told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes.

Sophie and Baxter don’t mind getting tested, and don’t mind virtual learning.

“I like doing virtual because I get to sleep in,” Sophie said.

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Todd Cannon prefers in-person learning for his kids, and so does APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring.

“The best engagement is face to face engagement. The pandemic does require us to be deliberate and strategic around safely onboarding,” Dr. Herring said.

Although testing has been working for APS thus far, new variants that are more contagious bring on new challenges.

“The other challenge that I need to name is getting vaccinated. We need more families to elect to vaccinate themselves and their children,” Dr. Herring told Fernandes.

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The superintendent said that if a significant amount of students test positive, they will know if they need to have a certain school switch to virtual instruction or continue on with the plan to open the doors on Monday morning.

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