Atlanta Public Schools to offer weekly ‘surveillance’ testing for COVID-19 to students and staff

Superintendent Lisa Herring visited students at Jones Elementary on their first day back in the classroom on Jan. 25. (Photo courtesy APS)

With some students already back in classrooms, Atlanta Public Schools has announced it will provide COVID-19 surveillance testing in schools.

The surveillance testing will be conducted weekly to identify the presence of the COVID-19 virus, even in individuals who may be asymptomatic.

APS is partnering with metro Atlanta-based Viral Solutions  to provide screening services, with the goal of beginning to offer testing at several schools as early as Friday. The test will be available to students and staff with results back in 24 hours.

While participation in surveillance testing is not required for students, it will be strongly encouraged.

“We are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe. And, I want our students, teachers, staff, and the APS community to know that I’m listening. I hear your concerns. They haven’t fallen on deaf ears,” Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring said. “But more importantly, I’m acting on your concerns and I continue to evolve our Return+Learn plan with your feedback in mind.”

Pre-K, 1st and 2nd graders returned to classrooms on Jan. 25, while APS decided to delay the return of other grades due to high numbers of COVID-19 in the community. Students in grades 3-5 will return on Feb. 8, while students in grades 6-12 will return on Feb. 16.