After three virtual town hall meetings with parents and staff during the summer, we started our school year on August 11. We had 75 students enrolled, of which 90% returned for in-person education and the remaining joined virtually. We watched as many crowded schools in Georgia reported outbreaks and closures with in-person return to school, understanding this could be our school if we didn’t enforce our policy.
We are 4 weeks into the school year and have so far avoided any COVID-19 infections in our student body and staff. Every Friday we remind students, parents and staff that our behaviors through the weekend will affect our safety in the following week. We know our model is not perfect and we have a sick bay prepared and ready should any of our children or staff develop COVID-19 symptoms. Nevertheless, every effort is made daily to minimize exposure to the virus while providing instruction and promoting community.
Our children need the community for their own emotional well-being and if we do this right, we can continue “shaping lives for success.”
Fadi Nahab, M.D., is an associate professor of neurology and pediatrics, Emory University, and an ANS school board member and parent. Also contributing were: Angeline Weems, current principal, ANS; Patricia Salazar, former ANS principal; Yvionne Joseph, ANS teacher; Villard Bastien, ANS board chairman and parent; Scott Linton, ANS board member and associate pastor, Atlanta North Church; John Satelmajer; ANS treasurer and parent; and Shelly-Ann Bowen, ANS board.