FULTON COUNTY: What students and parents need to know about back to school policies

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Fulton County Schools has released its updated guidance for students and staff returning to school this fall. The district’s first day of school is Aug. 9.

“COVID-19 continues to be a serious safety concern as staff and students return for the 2021-22 school year,” the district said in a release to parents. “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.”

[SPECIAL SECTION: Channel 2′s complete guide for back to school 2021 in north Georgia]

The district initially said masks would be completely optional but updated its guidance in early August, noting an increase in cases in the district.

“Thank you for your partnership during this pandemic. Our ability to continue moving forward depends on all of us wearing masks, staying home when sick, and following all the other mitigation strategies recommended to reduce the spread of the virus. We remain committed to providing a safe learning environment while providing our students the very best educational opportunities.”

Here are the latest protocols for Fulton County’s 2021-2022 school year:

Face Coverings

  • All students, teachers and visitors in cities with high-transmission rate will be required to wear masks until the level of spread drops. As of August 4, 13 of the 14 cities in Fulton County exceeded levels that are considered high-community spread. A complete list of affected schools can be found here and will be updated weekly.
    • 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.
    • Any FCS school or facility located within a jurisdiction where the state, county, or municipality requires a mask to be worn in public spaces will honor such orders until such time as it has expired.
    • 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.
  • Mandatory on school buses

Social Distance

  • Social distancing of 3 to 6 feet where possible
  • Large group gatherings will be limited

Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • Students and staff should wash hands frequently and cover mouth/nose when coughing or sneezing
  • High-touch areas should be cleaned and disinfected
  • Partitions, enhanced cleaning products, safety signage, paper towel dispensers and hand sanitizer stations are still in place
  • HVAC systems have been adjusted to increase ventilation
  • Visitors will be limited


  • 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. This should be done through the parent and employee portals.
  • All students and staff may continue reporting to school and work after direct exposure if the individual remains symptom-free and wears a mask while on school district property for 10 days after exposure. The GADPH and the FCBOH strongly encourages individuals directly exposed to COVID-19 to get tested after 3-5 days.
  • Students in quarantine will receive asynchronous instruction and be provided a block of 3 tutoring hours with a third-party partner
  • FCS will switch to remote learning if warranted using the Closing Matrix

Virtual School:

  • 1,500 slots are open for virtual learners. Families are asked to make a year-long commitment
  • Families interested in registering for an available seat at FAVE, can go to the school’s webpage (www.fultonschools.org/fave)


  • All athletes and band members will be screened daily and coordinated in small groups
  • All athletic events will be open at full capacity and concessions will be open


  • Free breakfast and lunch will continue to be offered to all students