Vote here, scrub here: Schools plan deep clean after polls close

In this file photo, a voter walks away from the voting booths at Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta on July 24, 2018. (JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

In this file photo, a voter walks away from the voting booths at Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta on July 24, 2018. (JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

Scores of metro Atlanta schools that will serve as Election Day polling sites are planning a deep clean afterward to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Many districts will give students the day off Tuesday and then sanitize and disinfect spaces before they return.

The number of Fulton County Schools' facilities that will be used as polling locations has grown significantly since the June primary, when the elections board requested use of three dozen buildings. On Tuesday, 63 district sites will open to voters.

The additional locations are part of a push by Fulton election officials to add 91 more polling spots for Tuesday’s election. The goal is to reduce the number of voters at each site and shorten the long wait times that hampered the primary.

“We’ve got a lot of new schools, but we also have many, many other sites, lots of facilities around the county stepped up to be polling places for this election,” said county elections director Richard Barron.

Election Day is reserved as a professional development day in Fulton County Schools, and staffers have been told to work from home if possible, said spokesman Brian Noyes. He said custodians will clean and disinfect voting areas before students return to schools Wednesday.

An Atlanta Public Schools spokesman said the county’s elections department will pay to clean about 30 schools that will be used as voting sites. APS has not resumed in-person learning for students.

Nearly 50 Gwinnett County Public Schools will open as polling sites. Spokeswoman Sloan Roach said schools will try to hold voting in spaces such as cafeterias, gyms and media centers that are accessible from parking lots so people aren’t walking through classroom areas.

The district plans to have custodians come in early Wednesday morning to clean. The school system designated Election Day as a holiday for students and teachers.

Although Clayton County Public Schools' students are learning virtually, the district plans to send in a “strike team” to sanitize and disinfect more than 40 school-based polling sites immediately after the election.

A couple dozen Cobb County schools will serve as polling locations. Elections director Janine Eveler said poll workers will have cleaning supplies to wipe down areas throughout the day, but they won’t do deep cleaning.

Cobb students have Tuesday off. On Wednesdays, all students—even the ones who opted to return to in-person instruction— learn remotely to allow for midweek cleaning. That will continue the day after the election.