The City of South Fulton is canceling today’s activities scheduled through its Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department after learning today that a Bear Creek Middle School teacher has tested positive for coronavirus. Additionally, the city will delay the opening of its offices to the public until tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. Employees are to report at 10 a.m.
While many news outlets have reported that Bear Creek Middle is located in Fairburn, it’s actually in the City of South Fulton.
According to a statement published by the city: “The safety of all residents – and city staff – remains the city’s top priority. The city continues to work closely with Fulton County health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor the situation. Residents should check the city’s website and social media outlets for regular updates.”
Fulton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney shared details about the confirmed case of coronavirus earlier today at a press conference. The teacher who tested positive felt ill at Bear Creek Middle on Friday, March 6, and was subsequently admitted to a local hospital. Fulton County Schools is not sharing which hospital and can not legally disclose the employee’s health condition.
The school district is in the process of providing the Department of Health with a list of students and staff members that the employee may have had contact with so that health department staff can follow up.
Based on concerns of possible exposure, the schools were immediately dismissed today and all students and staff were sent home. Creekside High School also has been closed due to its close proximity to Bear Creek Middle School and the sharing of several staff members between the schools. A number of families also have students who attend both schools.
Tomorrow, March 10, the entire school system – all FCS schools and administrative offices – will be closed. This allows for cleaning and disinfection of all schools as well as for district officials to conduct a risk assessment for the entire school system. A decision about the length of the closing and next steps will be announced tomorrow by 5 p.m. The district will continue to post updates on its website and will communicate additional information with families and employees as it becomes available.
Bridgett Preston, a Creekside High parent and also an educator said that today’s events should emphasize that health is more important than showing up for work or school.
“As a parent and a teacher, I watch children and colleagues drag themselves into classrooms everyday feeling a little under the weather,” she said. “If anything, our current situation teaches us that our health is more important than our attendance at our jobs or schools. Our inability to stay at home or go to the hospital can cost others their health and safety as well. It is a very serious risk. We must be very cautious and concerned.”
Her daughter, a Creekside ninth grader, said that today’s early dismissal created chaos in the classroom. While her teacher informed the students that they would leave school early, it wasn’t until students checked their phones that they learned it was due to coronavirus. She said she’s not worried, but is vigilant and plans to wear a mask and gloves to school when classes resume.
“Just because you wash your hands doesn’t mean that everyone else does,” she said.
Government, health and school officials are urging all stakeholders – students, employees, parents and community members – to follow COVID-19 guidance as emphasized by local, state and national health care providers.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.