Going a bit farther than Gov. Brian Kemp, Fulton County schools superintendent Mike Looney said Tuesday the 94,000-student district likely wouldn’t re-open until after Spring Break.
Looney told this to the Fulton school board, which held an online meeting via Microsoft Teams, which is what the entire district is now running to teach and coordinate while school buildings are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He said there are no plans to cancel Springs Break. Looney said he figures people need the break to “take a deep breath” and de-stress after all this tumult.
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The district has had three teachers test positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Looney said at a board meeting last week that school buildings and district offices would close the next day "until further notice," making it the first in the state to do so. Then Kemp on Monday ordered the closure of public elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools through March.
Fulton’s Spring Break starts April 6.
“In all honesty … based on what’s happening … we will likely remain closed until after Spring Break,” Looney said during the board meeting Tuesday.
Looney echoed that sentiment during a virtual town hall hosted by Rep. Roger Bruce, D-South Fulton, that included other elected officials.
“I think realistically that the soonest we could re-open is after Spring Break,” he said.
When asked about the most extreme case, Looney said: “We have no intention at this time to close for the school year.”
He said during the board meeting that the district has spent $1.5 million on 3,000 new computers for families who don’t have a computer for one child or have enough computers for multiple children suddenly home doing online learning.
He said that was in the works and could come as early as next week, but was complicated by guidance from health experts to not let more than 50 people come together to cook, distribute and take the meals.
When asked why the district doesn’t deliver the meals by bus, Looney said that wasn’t feasible or safe for his staff to come into contact with so many families during this pandemic.
“We’re trying to find a balance of having the appropriate number of employees and facilities open,” Looney said.
He said district officials handed out 4,050 packages at six sites on Monday. Each packages contained four meals, so the district gave out 16,200 meals in one day. The distribution happens on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Here’s the breakdown from Monday:
• Lake Forest Elementary School in Sandy Springs, 946 packages
• Mimosa Elementary in Roswell, 657 packages
• Haynes Bridge Middle School in Alpharetta, 509 packages
• Tri-Cities High School in East Point, 990 packages
• Banneker High School in College Park, 472 packages
• Langston Hughes High School in Fairburn, 476 packages
Ben Brasch is the reporter tasked with keeping Fulton County government accountable. The Florida native moved to Atlanta for a job with The AJC. If there's something important to you going on in Fulton, he wants to know about it. Help him better metro Atlanta by dropping a line, anonymously or otherwise.