Metro Atlanta school districts report sizable drop in COVID-19 cases

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

As the omicron variant surged across metro Atlanta last month, many of the area’s 14 school districts recorded their highest coronavirus case counts this academic year.

Those districts are now reporting a 47% drop in cases from the mid-January spike, as of Feb. 4.

During the week of Jan. 10, the districts recorded more than 8,600 cases. But last week, that number had decreased to approximately 4,600 cases.

The seven-day rolling average of new confirmed and probable infections reached its highest point in the pandemic at more than 20,900 on Jan. 11. The core metro Atlanta counties reached their peaks days earlier.

On Tuesday, the rolling average statewide was 6,138.

ExploreThe latest on how coronavirus is affecting Georgia schools

Since the decline in cases, school districts in Fayette, Fulton and Henry counties dropped mask mandates in buildings. On Tuesday, Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted that “in the coming days my office will be introducing legislation to give parents the final say on masking for their children.”

The governor’s tweet said “some school systems continue to ignore the science, concerned parents, and the wellbeing of students.” Most school districts have rules in place for dropping mask mandates based on COVID-19 data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends masks in schools.

ExploreComplete coverage of COVID-19 in Georgia

Overall, the districts have recorded nearly 79,000 cases since the school year kicked off in August.

Below is a summary of the school districts’ data. Because the data relies on self-reporting, the numbers are likely higher, according to health officials. Districts say the figures aren’t exact and the data sometimes changes after their reports are posted.

Atlanta Public Schools

Masks: Required

Enrollment: Approximately 50,000 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 2-Feb. 4): 4,745. Breakdown: 3,850 students; 895 staff

Latest report: The district recorded 254 COVID-19 cases from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4. The previous week, it recorded 318 cases. This school year’s highest count — 520 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 27. The second highest case count — 505 — was reported for the week ending Jan. 14.

Buford City Schools

Masks: Optional

Enrollment: About 5,800 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 5-Feb. 4): 596. Breakdown: 514 students, 82 staff

Latest report: The district recorded 13 COVID-19 cases for the week ending Feb. 4. The previous week, it reported 20 cases. The district’s highest count — 102 — was recorded the week ending Sept. 3.

Cherokee County School District

Masks: Optional

Enrollment: Approximately 42,000 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 2-Feb. 4): 5,452. Breakdown: 4,521 students, 931 staff

Latest report: The district recorded 86 cases for the week ending Feb. 4. The previous week, it reported 295 cases. This school year’s highest count — 832 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 20.

City Schools of Decatur

Masks: Required

Vaccines: Required for staff, unless exempted; optional for students

Enrollment: Approximately 5,700 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 3-Feb. 4): 369. Breakdown: 310 students, 59 staff

Latest report: The district recorded 34 COVID-19 cases from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4. The previous week, it recorded 49 cases. This school year’s highest count — 64 cases — was recorded the week ending Jan. 14.

Clayton County Public Schools

Masks: Required

Enrollment: About 52,000

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 5-Feb. 4): 3,446. Breakdown: 2,232 students; 1,214 staff

Latest report: The district recorded 82 COVID-19 cases for the week ending Feb. 4. The previous week, the district recorded 161 cases. This school year’s highest count — 827 cases — was recorded the week that ended Jan. 7.

Cobb County School District

Masks: Optional

Enrollment: Approximately 107,000 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 2-Feb. 3): 14,298

Latest report: The district recorded 1,105 COVID-19 cases from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3. That’s down from the 1,683 cases recorded the previous week. This school year, the district’s highest case count — 1,856 cases — was recorded from Jan. 24-28.

It is unclear whether the district’s report includes employees who work outside of schools.

DeKalb County School District

Masks: Required

Enrollment: Approximately 93,500 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 6-Feb. 3): 6,074. Breakdown: 4,412 students; 1,662 staff

Latest report: The district recorded 299 COVID-19 cases from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3. The previous week, the district recorded 323 cases. This school year’s highest count — 930 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 20.

Douglas County School System

Masks: Initially required, but now optional, except on buses

Enrollment: Approximately 25,890 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 4-Feb. 3): 2,760. Breakdown: District doesn’t provide that data.

Latest report: The district recorded 184 COVID-19 cases from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3. The previous week, it recorded 268 cases. This school year’s highest count — 359 cases — was recorded from Jan. 14 to Jan. 20.

Fayette County Public Schools

Masks: Optional, except on buses

Enrollment: Approximately 20,000 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 2-Feb. 3): 1,585. Breakdown: 1,368 students, 217 staff

Latest report: The district recorded 106 COVID-19 cases from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3. The previous week, it recorded 128 cases. This school year’s highest case count — 266 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 20.

Forsyth County Public Schools

Masks: Optional

Enrollment: Approximately 53,000 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 4-Feb. 5): 7,968

Latest report: The school district recorded 682 COVID-19 cases for the week ending Feb. 5. The previous week, it recorded 858 cases. This school year, the district’s highest count — 869 — was recorded the week ending Jan. 22.

Fulton County Schools

Masks: Optional

Enrollment: Approximately 90,000 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 9-Feb. 3): 10,211. Breakdown: The district doesn’t break down cases for students and staff.

Latest report: The district recorded 758 COVID-19 cases from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3. The previous week, it recorded 907 cases. The district’s highest case count — 1,160 — was recorded from Dec. 31 to Jan. 6.

Gwinnett County Public Schools

Masks: Required

Enrollment: Approximately 179,600 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 4-Feb. 6): 16,953. Breakdown: 14,301 students; 2,652 staff

Latest report: The district reported 878 COVID-19 cases from Feb. 2 to Feb. 6. The previous week, it recorded 1,372 cases. This school year, the district’s highest count — 2,528 cases — was recorded from Jan. 10 to Jan. 17.

Henry County School District

Masks: Required in all indoor spaces “when responsible” social distancing isn’t possible

Enrollment: Approximately 43,000 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 4-Feb. 4): 3,132 cases. Breakdown: 2,343 students; 789 staff

Latest report: The district recorded 125 COVID cases for the week ending Feb. 4. The previous week, the district reported 158 cases. This school year, the district’s highest case count — 480 — was recorded the week ending Aug. 20.

Marietta City Schools

Masks: Optional

Enrollment: Approximately 8,700 students

Cumulative COVID-19 cases (Aug. 3-Feb. 4): 1,190.

Latest report: The district recorded 67 cases from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4. The previous week, it recorded 72 cases. This school year, the highest count — 155 cases — was recorded the week ending Jan. 7.