COVID-19 Report: This week’s impact on metro Atlanta schools, governments

In a recent visit to Hall County, Emory epidemiologist Jodie Guest and graduate students from the Rollins School of Public Health provided COVID-19 tests to some 450 poultry plant workers, family members and others. Photo by Jack Kearse at Emory University.

Credit: Photo by Jack Kearse at Emory University

Credit: Photo by Jack Kearse at Emory University

COVID-19 is disrupting so much of life that it is difficult to keep up with the news.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has summarized the news of coronavirus cases reported in Georgia school systems and metro Atlanta governments this week.

On a statewide level, Georgia is now gathering a weekly snapshot of coronavirus infections in public schools. Before, everything was happening on the local level, so this is the first attempt to unite information for all 180 school districts.

These are all fluid situations, so things might have changed by presstime. Visit AJC.com for the latest news on the pandemic.

Atlanta

• The Atlanta school board on Tuesday agreed to borrow $50 million to cover costs while the district waits for tax revenues to start coming in, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Officials said the district needed to borrow money because of delays in sending out Fulton County tax bills to property owners.

Athens-Clarke

• The Athens Banner-Herald reported that Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams said during a Tuesday meeting that police found no violations of COVID-19 occupancy rules after doing 143 inspections of downtown bars the past two weekends. But officers did issue 14 citations to people who refused to wear masks the weekend of Aug. 30, and more than 13 people this past weekend.

Baldwin

• The Macon Telegraph reports that, per the North Central Health District, about 80% of Baldwin County’s recent uptick in COVID-19 cases can be attributed to those between ages 18 and 24. The newspaper reported that, since the start of September, Georgia College in Milledgeville reported 63 new student cases in its population of 8,000 students.

Bulloch

• The Statesboro Herald reports that the Bulloch County government has received $2.3 million and the city of Statesboro has received $1.7 million as part of Georgia’s first phased of payout of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act money. The newspaper said the county expects $2.6 million and the city is planning for $2 million during the second phase. There are still local doubts about phase three.

Chatham

• The Savannah Morning News reported that more than 400 local businesses applied for a second wave of small business grants funded by money from the federal CARES Act via the Small Business Assistance Corporation. The newspaper reported that Savannah City Manager Pat Monahan said Thursday the SBAC received 430 applications over eight days, requesting about $7 million in losses connected to the coronavirus.

Chattahoochee

• According to the New York Times: Chattahoochee County, southeast of Columbus, was No. 2 in the nation for highest number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the country over the last seven days. The next highest in Georgia was Wheeler County, followed by Clarke County.

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Cobb

• Cobb voters starting Wednesday will be able to drop off their absentee ballots at several locations around the county, according to the AJC.

• The school district is providing free weekly meal kits each Monday to all students up to the age of 18, reports the AJC. The free kits are also available to children who are not enrolled in the school district. The free kits were made available due to a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

• Marietta City Schools on Tuesday brought back 1,002 students in prekindergarten through second grade and special needs students who opted to attend classes in-person two days a week, according to the AJC.

Dougherty

• Once one of the worst hotspots of COVID-19 in the country, Dougherty County and the city of Albany next week will host antibody testing by Augusta University Health researchers, reports the Albany Herald. The testing will run from Sept. 16-29 at the Albany Civic Center, the newspaper wrote. The virus has killed 180 people in the county of 90,000 residents.

Fulton

• The county’s elections department last week received an extra $14.5 million to make sure the crucial November presidential election has none of the issues that made the June primary a debacle, according to the AJC.

• Johns Creek city council members on Tuesday delayed a vote on making face coverings required until a Sept. 21 meeting after much debate, reports the AJC.

Glynn

• For the first year since the tragedy, Glynn did not hold a 9/11 remembrance event, according to the Brunswick News. Officials said it wasn’t possible to do so safely with COVID-19.

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Gwinnett

• As long as they are masked, people can visit the re-opened Gwinnett County Public Library branches, according to the AJC.

• Gwinnett County Public Schools announced it will offer free meals to anyone 18 and younger for the rest of the year, per the AJC.

Macon-Bibb

• Students again began logging back into classes Tuesday in Bibb County, according to the Macon Telegraph. The district is providing meals to families; the Houston County School District is doing the same. Bibb also sent out 24 buses as mobile internet hotspots across the county in “internet deserts” for students, the newspaper reports.

Newton

• The Newton Citizen reports that the school district has announced its football schedule and new stadium guidelines. Sharp Stadium attendance will be capped at 25% of capacity. No traveling bands will be allowed to come. Varsity football games ticket prices are set at $10 and will be done online through GoFan to avoid using cash, the newspaper reports.

Tift

• A football game between the Valdosta Wildcats at the Tift County Blue Devils was cancelled hours before the game, according to the Thomasville Times-Enterprise. The Tift school district said the reason for cancellation was due to “the number of positive COVID-19 cases on our football team.”

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