The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) is closing Oak View Elementary School effective Sept. 3 after 18 students tested positive for COVID-19, Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris announced Thursday morning.

A total of 108 students were out of school Thursday including the 18 who tested positive and 90 students who they came in close contact with. Thirteen staff members are also in quarantine after being in contact with the students.

“There are no other schools in this situation— this acute situation, as the one we’ve decided to close,” said Superintendent Watson-Harris at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Watson-Harris said the decision to close Oak View was made over concerns about the schools’ ability to operate effectively with so many staff members in quarantine.

Stacy Stepney head of the COVID task force said no single metric went into deciding to close Oak View. DCSD worked in collaboration with the DeKalb County Board of Health to make the final decision.

Dr. Deborah Moore-Sanders,  Interim Deputy Superintendent, Student Support & Intervention told the media Thursday that contact tracing would be handled through the county board of health.

She added that DCSD is in the process of applying for surveillance testing to be conducted through the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Until then Watson-Harris said that DCSD is encouraging all staff and eligible students to get vaccinated. From a voluntary staff survey that received 5 thousand responses, 89 percent of staff indicated they were vaccinated.

Oak View Elementary School will reopen Monday, September 13. While the building is closed DCSD will do a deep cleaning of the entire school and disinfect surfaces.

Every Friday DCSD updates their COVID Health & Safety page with the number of students and staff who have tested positive or come in contact with someone who has tested positive.

(Left to Right: Dr. Deborah Moore-Sanders, Stacy Stepney and Superintendent Sheryl Watson-Harris. Photo Credit: Madeline Thigpen/ Report for America)

Madeline Thigpen is an education reporter and Report for America Corps Member. She joined the Atlanta Voice in 2021. At the Voice she covers K-12 education for the Atlanta metro region and higher education....