Clayton Co. Schools implement new safety, security policies for new school year

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 10:52 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2022 at 12:19 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Kids are back in the classroom in Clayton County and there are some new policies for safety and security.

This year, everyone is back on campus after being virtual for the pandemic.

“She was virtual last year, the year before last, and I’m so glad she gets to experience coming back to school,” said Linda Higgins, whose daughter is starting the 5th grade.

Everyone is back at school but still being careful about the coronavirus. According to data from the Georgia Department of Health, there are over 63,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Clayton County.

“Students have options for wearing their masks. We are expecting all adults, and it is policy that all adults wear their masks,” said Dr. Dawn Watkins, the principal at Callaway Elementary School in Jonesboro.

There’s a panel specifically for coronavirus safety in the school district. They have staff and students reporting if they have Covid in a special portal and they are doing contact tracing.

“I’m glad. I’m glad they have that because she’s a real germaphobe. So am I, so you know, the masks mandates and all that, the desks with the glass around the desks, that’s a good thing at her school,” said Higgins.

“We’re making sure that our students are safe because that is the most important thing - safety and security,” said Dr. Watkins.

To keep kids secure, the district has a new transparent backpack policy.

“We have students that came with their clear book bags. However, the district has distributed bookbags to all of our schools, and we will begin passing those bookbags out today for all of those students who do not have translucent bags,” said Dr. Watkins.

The district hasn’t received all of the clear backpacks they need for their 52,000+ student population, so for the first few weeks of school, kids without one can carry a regular bag. It’s unclear how many bags have been given out so far in the district or which grades will get priority as they come in.