DeKalb Schools blocks two from school amid Ebola concerns

Two Dunwoody students who recently returned from West Africa were blocked from enrolling in DeKalb schools this week as a precaution against the spread of Ebola.

DeKalb school officials said the father worked for CARE, a humanitarian organization, as a finance controller in the Liberia/Sierra Leone office. He returned to the United States on Sept. 14 with his family and tried to enroll the children Wednesday at Dunwoody Elementary and Dunwoody High.

According to school officials, the family had a letter from CARE saying more than 21 days had passed since their return from the United States, which is beyond the quarantine period for Ebola. But school officials turned the students away because the district requires confirmation from the CDC or local health department, not from an employer, said spokesman Quinn Hudson.

The district said the family understands and is cooperating.

The DeKalb County school district also announced Thursday new students from Ebola-affected West African countries would be limited from classes on school campuses.

New students from countries including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and other affected areas in Africa won’t be enrolled or allowed to attend classes “without proper medical documentation and approval by the superintendent,” according to a released statement from the school district.

Following DeKalb’s announcement, Cobb County school officials also said they planned to follow similar precautions.

“We’ve been in talks with the Department of Public Health for about a week now…on what we might need to do as a district” in response to the Ebola virus and keeping it out of schools, said Angela Huff, chief of staff for Cobb schools.

“Our protocol will be very similar” to DeKalb. Unlike DeKalb, Cobb has not had to turn away students, Huff said.

DeKalb’s superintendent is urging principals and administrators to be observant for anyone exhibiting a fever in the school and immediately ask if they have traveled to or come into contact with someone who has traveled to an Ebola-affected region.

If school officials encounter someone they believe exhibits symptoms, they are to immediately separate the person from contact with others and report it.