Ebola concerns prompt teacher’s removal from Newton County classroom

A Newton County teacher has been removed from the classroom after her spouse’s return from an African country affected by the Ebola virus.

Officials with Newton County Schools have been receiving numerous questions from parents and community members after announcing on the district’s Facebook page that a educator’s spouse had just returned from Sierra Leone.

“This morning it was reported to our school system that a Newton High School teacher shared information with her students that her spouse, who worked in Sierra Leone, returned to the country yesterday,” the district posted Tuesday evening. “Since that time, many parents have contacted us to express their concern given recent media coverage surrounding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

“All reports of this nature are taken very seriously, and we will continue to follow the guidance of the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

District spokeswoman Sherri Davis-Viniard said the teacher in question will not be returning to school until she receives clearance to be around students. She added that the teacher’s classroom was sanitized as a precautionary measure.

The Facebook message also said students would be bringing home additional information Wednesday regarding the virus, including how to prevent its spread and the spread of other diseases.

Just before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, the district’s post had been shared more than 350 times and received more than 130 comments.

The Georgia Department of Education reported that Newton High School had a student population of just over 2,000 during the most recent enrollment count in March. The district had more than 19,000 students at that time.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.