COVID tracker: What the data reveals about metro Atlanta schools

School administrators at Norcross Elementary School welcome students on Jan. 10, 2022. Across Georgia, schools are determined to keep their doors open amid high coronavirus rates that have led to staffing shortages. (Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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School administrators at Norcross Elementary School welcome students on Jan. 10, 2022. Across Georgia, schools are determined to keep their doors open amid high coronavirus rates that have led to staffing shortages. (Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In a shortened week after winter break, many metro Atlanta school districts recorded their highest COVID-19 case counts of the 2021-2022 calendar year, according to data posted to their websites.

Here’s a summary:

Atlanta Public Schools: The school district did not post its usual case data for the shortened week of classes ending Jan. 7. It said that kind of documentation would be provided for the week ending Jan. 14. But the district did post results of surveillance testing, which showed 641 positive cases from Jan. 1 to 7. Since the start of the 2021-2022 school year, the district had recorded more than 3,400 COVID-19 cases, as of Dec. 17. Masks are required.

Buford City Schools: The district recorded 16 COVID-19 cases for the week ending Jan. 7. The district’s highest count — 102 — was recorded the week ending Sept. 3. Since August, the district has documented nearly 500 cases. Masks are optional.

Cherokee County School District: The district recorded 261 cases for the week ending Jan. 7. Of those, 188 were students, 73 were staff. The district’s highest case count — 832 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 20. Before winter break, the district reported 50 cases for the week ending Dec. 17. Masks are optional.

City Schools of Decatur: The district recorded 29 COVID-19 cases for the week ending Jan. 7. That’s the district’s highest weekly count of the 2021-2022 school year. The district has recorded 185 cases since August. Masks are required.

Clayton County Public Schools: The district recorded 826 cases for the week ending Jan. 7: 783 staff, 43 students. That’s its highest case count of the 2021-2022 school year. Previously, the district’s highest case count — 287 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 20. Since August, the district has recorded more than 2,600 COVID cases. Masks are required.

Cobb County School District: The district has not posted any COVID-19 cases since the week ending Dec. 17. When asked why, a spokesman said in a statement this week that “recent changes to our public health protocols, and their impact on accurate COVID-19 case counts, are under review.” She added: “Once determined, we will provide an update, on our COVID-19 webpage, about what process we will use going forward.” Cobb is the state’s second-largest school district. From August through Dec. 17, the district reported nearly 7,000 COVID-19 cases. Masks are optional.

DeKalb County School District: The district recorded 673 COVID-19 cases from Dec. 31 to Jan. 6. The highest count — 930 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 20. Since August, the district has reported more than 4,400 cases. Masks are required.

Douglas County School System: No coronavirus case data was posted the week ending Jan. 7. “We are not sharing a COVID-19 report for the week ending in Jan. 7th because we did not have a full week of school for the reporting period,” a district spokeswoman said in an email. The district has recorded more than 1,600 cases since the start of the school year in August. Masks are optional, except on buses.

Fayette County Public Schools: No COVID-19 data for the week ending Jan. 7 was posted “since we were only in school for two days,” according to a district spokeswoman. The district recorded 46 COVID-19 cases for the week ending Dec. 17 — the highest weekly count since mid-September. The highest case count — 266 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 20. Since the start of the school year, the district has documented more than 1,000 cases. Masks are required, but the mandate will be reevaluated the week of Jan. 24, the spokeswoman said.

Forsyth County Public Schools: The school district resumed classes remotely after winter break. On Jan. 7, it recorded 74 new cases. It also reported its rolling count of cases — positive cases of COVID-19 still within their 10-day period of isolation — as 167. The district recorded more than 4,700 cases from August to Jan. 7. Masks are optional.

Fulton County Schools: The district recorded 1,160 COVID-19 cases from Dec. 31 to Jan. 6. That’s the district’s highest count since the start of the 2021-2022 school year. The district’s second-highest case count — 892 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 26. Since the start of the school year, the district has recorded more than 6,000 cases. Masks are required through Jan. 21. (Note: The district has said the data posted on its website contains inaccuracies. Corrected reports are not posted.)

Gwinnett County Public Schools: The district reported 1,752 COVID-19 cases from Jan. 6 to Jan. 9. That’s the district’s highest weekly total of the 2021-2022 school year. Previously, the highest case count — 1,159 — was documented from Aug. 30 to Sept. 6. Since the start of the school year, the district has recorded more than 10,000 cases. Masks are required.

Henry County School District: The district has not posted any January data. The district’s highest case count — 480 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 20. Since the start of the school year, the district has recorded more than 2,300 cases. Masks are required in all indoor spaces “when responsible” social distancing isn’t possible.

Marietta City Schools: The district recorded 155 cases from Jan. 1 to Jan. 7. That is its highest weekly case count since the start of the 2021-2022 school year. The district’s second-highest case count — 76 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 26. Since the start of the school year, the district has recorded more than 750 cases. Masks are optional.

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