12.31 APS Announces Safety Measures for Reopening of Schools After Holiday Break

Office of Communications and Public Engagement
130 Trinity Avenue SW | Atlanta, Georgia 30303


Seth Coleman, Director of Media Relations & Television Broadcast

404-802-2891, office
404-406-5570, cell


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                          

December 31, 2021


Atlanta Public Schools Announces Safety Measures for Reopening of Schools After Holiday Break

ATLANTA – Atlanta Public Schools has announced the district’s plan for safely opening schools next week, which includes mandatory surveillance testing of all employees on Monday and weekly testing of students on a voluntary basis.


Monday, January 3

  • District offices will reopen at 8 a.m. Teachers and other school-based staff will report to their schools for professional development activities. Representatives from Viral Solutions will be present at district offices for mandatory surveillance testing of employees and at each school to test school-based staff.
  • All schools received a shipment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in mid-November. This includes masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning products. 



Tuesday, January 4


  • Students should report to school at the regular time. 


  • Weekly surveillance testing for students will remain voluntary. The district is urging all parents who have not already consented to complete a Surveillance Testing Electronic Consent Form. (http://tinyURL.com/HealthyAPS)

The district is continuing its strict COVID-19 mitigation protocols, which include mandatory testing twice a week for employees, voluntary testing for students, and mandatory masks for everyone inside an APS school or office building. Also, frequent handwashing, the use of hand sanitizer, and social distancing when possible are stressed for students and employees. Employees or students who feel sick should remain at home.

“The pandemic and this latest surge have put an enormous strain on people and systems,” APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring said. “We must all do our part and do what we can, while also remaining realistic that, unfortunately, the numbers are currently surging and will most likely do so for the near future. This means our decisions must remain fluid so that we may be responsive to incoming, new information and data.”

The district’s surveillance testing will continue to be conducted by Atlanta-based Viral Solutions. The partnership with Viral Solutions has been a key component of the district’s COVID-19 mitigation strategy. Ron Sanders, President and Co-Founder of Viral Solutions, said keeping the schools safe and open is a main priority of theirs.


“Following the break and holiday gatherings, we must ensure that there is not a major spread at the beginning of the spring semester. Surveillance testing within the schools will play a vital role in mitigation strategies,” Dr. Sanders said. “During the current surge of the Omicron variant, we have seen the highest daily numbers and positivity rate since the inception of the pandemic. It is important that we remain vigilant and keep our guard up against Covid-19.” 

Additionally, APS will continue to emphasize the important role vaccinations play in mitigating the spread of the virus. The district will host COVID-19 vaccination events for eligible APS students who are ages 5 and older, APS families, and APS staff on Saturday, January 8 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The drive-up vaccine events will be held at the following locations:

  • Sutton Middle School  | 2875 Northside Dr. | Atlanta, GA 30305
  • Long Middle School | 3200 Latona Dr. SW. | Atlanta, GA 30354
  • Maynard Jackson High School | 801 Glenwood Avenue SE. | Atlanta, GA 30316
  • Mays High School | 3450 Benjamin E Mays Dr. SW Atlanta, GA 30331

First shots, second shots, and boosters will be offered. All vaccine brands will be available. Register at http://tinyurl.com/apsvax

“APS will remain committed to health and safety, while also balancing our commitment to the core business of teaching and learning,” Dr. Herring said. “Our strength lies in the practices and procedures we implemented and followed as the pandemic began and continued – practices and procedures we know already and will continue to implement as we strive to maintain in-person instruction for our students throughout the remainder of the school year.”

# # #

About Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 87 schools and five programs. The District is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 64 traditional schools, 19 charter schools, six partner schools, two alternative schools and five alternative programs. To learn more about Atlanta Public Schools, follow us on social media – Twitter (@apsupdate), Facebook (Atlanta Public Schools), and Instagram (apsupdate) – or visit us online at www.atlantapublicschools.us