Covid cases surge in Fayette schools and across county

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Weekly report from Fayette County School System for Aug. 20. 2021.
Weekly report from Fayette County School System for Aug. 20. 2021.

County cases increasing more than 50 per day on average, numbers not seen since last winter’s surge — 

A report Friday showed that Covid cases among staff members and students increased 53% in the Fayette County School System from the previous week.

The system has responded with mask mandates for a majority of the schools in an attempt to mitigate spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the virus while continuing in-person teaching in classrooms of the system’s 24 schools.

Meanwhile, Fayette residents are lining up at local urgent care centers to get tested. At one site in Fayetteville at mid-week, a line of people awaiting testing wrapped around the building.

The state reported 131 new confirmed cases between Friday and Sunday this past weekend and 16 additional Fayette residents were admitted to hospitals for Covid infections during that same period.

The Fayette Covid death toll remains at 164 since Aug. 13.

Statewide, just under 12,000 new cases were reported Saturday and Sunday, bringing the state pandemic total to 1,031,571.

The school system on Friday notified the public that the Aug. 23 meeting of the Board of Education will have limited public seating, with persons for and against mandatory masking expected to question board members.

Fayette County Board of Education member Leonard Presberg. File photo.
Fayette County Board of Education member Leonard Presberg. File photo.

Board member Leonard Presberg in an Aug. 21 Facebook post said, “Monday’s Board Meeting should be interesting. In a Chinese curse kind of way.” In the same post, he included a request from an unnamed person to remove the mask mandate and to provide evidence for the masking decisions.

The school Covid report Aug. 20 showed new infections among 242 students and 24 staff members, compared to 157 students and 16 staff members the previous week.

The hot spots were 4 of the 5 high schools and 3 of the 5 middle schools. Only 2 elementary schools showed new cases in the double digits.

From Leonard Presberg FaceBook post.
From Leonard Presberg FaceBook post.

The Aug. 20 report showed increasing numbers of students and staffers forced into quarantine because of exposure to infected persons — 737 students and staffers sidelined and no longer present in classrooms.

In one school alone last week — J.C. Booth Middle School in Peachtree City — 22 new student infections resulted in 129 students being sidelined for quarantines, for total of 151 students sent home. That’s on top of the 37 Booth students and 3 staffers still under quarantine from the previous week.

Here’s the notice emailed about limited seating at the school board meeting:

In order to protect the health of persons attending the Fayette County Board of Education meeting on August 23 at 7 p.m., limited public seating will be available.

Due to the rise of Covid-19 cases in our schools and community, the school system is taking this protective measure to mitigate the spread of the virus. Seats will be available on a first come, first served basis.

Public comments are welcomed and encouraged. Anyone wishing to speak must sign up between 6:30-7:00 p.m. the evening of the meeting. A table with a sign-up sheet will be located outside the entrance of the board of education building.

Board meetings take place in the boardroom of the Fayette County Board of Education located at 205 LaFayette Avenue, Building A, Fayetteville, GA.