Helping a school respond to COVID

An image of a line of masked children standing outside of a school

Administrators of elementary and middle schools have struggled to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, a problem made even more critical since the majority of their students have been too young to get a vaccine until recently. The GLOBE Academy, a DeKalb County public charter school, got a valuable assist from two parents of its students.

Dr. Lauren Christiansen-Lindquist, assistant professor of epidemiology, and Dr. Dabney Evans, associate professor of global health, both have children at the academy. When it became obvious over the summer that their children’s school would still be navigating the pandemic in the 2021–2022 school year, they put their heads together to help.

Christiansen-Lindquist and Evans applied for a grant and with the proceeds hired REAL student Rachael Lewis 22MPH. The trio created a playbook describing COVID-19 policies and procedures with infographics and easily understood terms. They launched a newsletter called COVID Communique and
created an online COVID-19 data tracker. 

Their approach seems to be working. The school, whose 1,100 students across two campuses have been attending class in person since the beginning of the school year, has seen few infections. “We are seeing perhaps five cases a week, but we know we do not have any in-school transmission,” says Evans. “That means we are stopping the chain of transmission at the school door with our tactics.”