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The district was the focus of attention in Georgia on Monday when it called a hasty news conference to announce it was temporarily closing all schools, affecting about 94,000 students. The decision was made after a teacher who worked at two middle schools on the county’s south side — Bear Creek and Woodland — was diagnosed with the disease. (The two middle schools are within 10 miles of Banneker but are not within its attendance zone.) All schools needed to be cleaned and disinfected, the district said.
Then, on Wednesday, the district announced that a second employee, this time at Woodland Middle School, had been diagnosed.
Noyes said that as far as he knows all three employees are fairing well. He said privacy laws prohibit disclosure of details about the latest case, such as the employee’s gender and whether he or she is a teacher.
Banneker High, southwest of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport just outside Union City, is among six sites the school district identified as food distribution centers for students in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's federally-subsidized school meal program.
It will remain a distribution site despite this latest case, after it is cleaned and disinfected Sunday.
Like most school districts in Georgia, Fulton has now closed its schools for an extended period, in this case until further notice. As of Sunday afternoon, the Georgia Department of Education was counting Fulton among more than 130 of the state's 180 school districts that had taken such action, affecting more than 1.4 million students. The closures were most common in the northern and southwestern parts of the state, with many central Georgia and coastal school districts choosing to remain open, for now.
School districts and public colleges started closing in quick succession after Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday suggested it, issuing a "call for action" for local officials to shut down for two weeks if they felt it to be "prudent."
The USDA then issued waivers allowing Georgia schools to continue feeding students on subsidized school meal plans during the closures, and Fulton and other districts began publicizing their meal distribution plans and locations.