South Fulton County school switches to remote learning after 6 cases of COVID-19

SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A local high school has canceled in-person learning after a spike in coronavirus cases.

Banneker High School in College Park just reopened to full-time students earlier this week. Some teachers retired before this reopening because they saw the outbreak coming.

More than half of the students in Fulton County schools said in a survey they wanted to go back to in person learning as soon as possible. And they did this week.

Channel 2 Action News spoke to the Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney right before they opened the doors.

“We’re enthusiastic about our students returning to school,” Looney said.

But Banneker high couldn’t make it through the week.

There were 6 total positive COVID-19 cases at the school so district officials switched to remote learning for Friday.

The school says it is working with the Fulton County Board of Health to do contact tracing and will notify individuals directly if they need to quarantine. The don’t have a total at this moment.

We asked Looney if the district was ready to handle the coronavirus in these schools.

“We’ve done everything we can practically do to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” Looney said.

And most schools are still doing OK, but Banneker will be closed until officials can ahold of the outbreak.

We spoke to some teachers on the days leading up to the schools reopening. They wanted us to hide their identities. Many predicted this would happen.

“We’re putting our lives on the line. I understand they want their kids in school. We want them in school to, but we want them there safely,” one teacher said.

Here is the letter sent to parents:

"Greetings Banneker High School Parents and Guardians,

This is an important message from Fulton County Schools. The District has decided to close Banneker High School for face to face instruction for Friday, October 16, 2020 based on a Level 2 incident from the FCS closing matrix. Students will continue to learn Friday, October 16, 2020 using Remote Learning.

As public health officials have communicated, it is very important to monitor your health for fever and symptoms of respiratory illness. In the event that your child develops a fever, runny nose, cough and/or shortness of breath, headache, nausea, loss of taste and smell, and vomiting or becomes ill between today and your child’s return to school, please call your child’s healthcare provider immediately. You should inform the healthcare provider that your child is ill and was possibly exposed to Coronavirus. The healthcare provider will determine if testing is necessary after examining your child.

To schedule a free COVID-19 test regardless of symptoms go to covid19.dph.ga.gov For appointments by phone call 404-613-8150. However, it is quicker to schedule an appointment online due to the volume of calls. Calls are accepted during these times: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Testing site locations, dates, and/or times are subject to change. Please check https://www.coreresponse.org/covid19-atlanta the day-of testing to confirm testing site information.

Expect about a 30-minute wait at testing sites. Residents should bring water and a chair if you are walking-up to a test site. Public restrooms may not be available at testing locations. https://fultoncountyga.gov/covid-19/covid-testing-sites

FCS will spend time tomorrow conducting a deep cleaning of the building. School will resume for face to face instruction on Monday, October 19, 2020. If you have questions, please call the public health hotline at 404-613-8150."