APS shuts down 2 food sites after workers test positive for COVID-19

Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools has shut down two of its 10 food distribution sites after employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen on Thursday announced the closures of food sites at Thomasville Heights Elementary School and Booker T. Washington High School. In a memo to families and staff members, Carstarphen said that two employees who worked at the Thomasville Heights site in late March and two employees who worked at the high school site in early April tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“Given this development, the district has closed Thomasville Heights and Washington High School as food distribution sites effective immediately and has notified any individuals who may have come in contact with those employees. The district has already been busing food to the Thomasville and Washington school community families and that will continue on Monday, April 20,” Carstarphen wrote.

On Monday, the district resumed its food distribution program after taking a week off during spring break. Starting this week, APS switched from a five-day-a-week distribution schedule to a weekly schedule, where they handed out enough food for five days at one time. The district distributed about 160,000 meals Monday, an effort that required about 400 people, including members of the Georgia National Guard. 

One reason for the shift from daily to weekly food distribution was to limit the exposure that workers and families had to one another.

Since mid-March, the district has operated 10 food distribution sites where families could drive or walk up to receive meals. They also load school buses up with bagged meals and drive them out into the community.

While the Thomasville Heights and Washington sites will close, the food distribution will continue along bus routes in those neighborhoods.

Carstarphen announced that APS nurses have been deployed to the eight remaining food sites to do temperature checks of those working and to make sure employees are wearing masks and gloves and follow social distancing guidelines.

She said the district will shut down any sites where workers get sick and revise its distribution plan as necessary.

The eight remaining food sites are: Bunche Middle School, Cleveland Avenue Elementary School, Douglass High School, Hope-Hill Elementary School, King Middle School, Phoenix Academy, Sylvan Hills Middle School and Young Middle School.