Superintendent Dr. Morcease Beasley speaks with kids and parents in parking lot on first day of school.

Mass vaccination drive Aug. 21 at Tara Stadium

by Robin Kemp

Clayton County Public Schools have had to make some difficult decisions on the fly since classes started. But CCPS wants parents to know that it’s not just making things up as it goes along.

In a press release issued Thursday evening, CCPS said it is “committed to providing accurate and transparent
information regarding COVID-19 as it affects our schools while also maintaining privacy and confidentiality for our students and staff.” CCPS said it wanted people to understand the decision-making process behind indiividual quarantines, partial, and full school closures.

As a safety precaution, CCPS says it is following “mitigation measures” recommended by local and state health agencies and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These include:

  • keeping social distance
  • checking temperatures
  • wearing masks
  • sanitizing buildings and surface
  • tracing contacts

Other steps that CCPS is taking to limit the spread of COVID-19 include:

Individual Quarantine: Any student or staff member who tests positive will isolate. Anyone who came within three feet of that person will quarantine. These rules apply whether on campus or on the school bus. This is what the CDC recommends.

Classroom and Partial Facility Closures: Depending on how many people test positive and “the impact of the spread,” CCPS will check withthe local epidemiologist and decide whether to close a classroom or part of a school facility.

Full School or Facility Closure: CCPS might close an entire school or facility if the case count or spread keep the school from being able to maintain its normal daily operations. Again, that decision is made in consultation with the local epidemiologist.

How vaccines fight COVID-19

Kids under 12 still can’t get the COVID-19 vaccine. In order to extend a blanket of protection to students, staff, and others in the community who cannot take the shot for medical reasons, CCPS Superintendent Dr. Morcease Beasley says he is “sincerely encouraging all eligible persons to get vaccinated.”

A person who is vaccinated against a disease is far less likely to catch it. If the person does catch that disease, they are better able to fight it off and increase their chances of surviving the illness. (Image: World Health Organization)

“Clayton County Public Schools is committed to providing a safe working and learning environment for all staff and students,” CCPS said. “Superintendent Beasley asks for everyone’s understanding, support, and continued confidence as we make very difficult and impactful decisions….To reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our schools and the Clayton Community, we need the help of all stakeholders! The current vaccination rate in Clayton County is 33% of the county’s population. We ask all stakeholders to consider getting vaccinated in an effort to flatten the curve and support healthy living and learning environments for the citizens of Clayton. We want to have school with minimal disruption to instruction.”

Some people with diseases like cancer cannot get vaccinated. That means they are at increased risk of catching infections. Those who can get vaccinated help protect those who can’t by giving the virus fewer places to breed and mutate. Eventually, some diseases become extinct, like the wild poliovirus. (Image: World Health Organization)

To that end, CCPD and the Clayton County Health District are holding a mass vaccination drive on Saturday, August 21 at Tara Stadium, 1055 Battle Creek Road, Jonesboro.

The effort, Clayton Calling the Shots, “is an informational initiative by Clayton County Public Schools designed to increase vaccination awareness across the county for eligible students, staff and stakeholders.”

In addition, “school-based vaccination options for students will be announced as details are finalized.”

Resources

You can learn more about how vaccination works from the World Health Organization.

The CDC has answers to questions about COVID-19.

You can pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccination with the Clayton County Health District.

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