Atlanta district officials expect it will cost just over $113,000 a year to fill the epidemiology post.
APS wants someone who will work with school nurses, administrators, public health agencies and the district’s data team. The epidemiologist will support the district’s COVID-19 testing program and contact investigations.
Candidates should have a master’s degree in public health, health sciences or a related field and at least three years of experience in a public health setting as well as prior work in a school district, according to the job description.
Valencia Beckley Hildreth, the district’s health services director, said a trained epidemiologist can take “a better pulse of what our district needs” when it comes to COVID-19 and other health conditions that students face such as asthma, diabetes and obesity.
The person will help make decisions about how APS should respond to cases and help determine if there’s an outbreak, she said.
Colin Smith, a clinical assistant professor at Georgia State University’s School of Public Health, said that to be effective, the person APS hires must be in regular contact with the county health department to coordinate efforts.
“This is something new. If they are actually looking to hire a district epidemiologist themselves, that shows they’re being serious,” he said.
APS reported 60 cases among students and staff last week, though most schools closed for fall break for two of those days. That count is down from a high of more than 400 cases recorded by APS for the week ending Aug. 27.