At some Atlanta Schools, the Pandemic has Provided a Silver Lining—a Stronger, More Urgent Sense of Community

On March 12, Atlanta Public Schools’ announced that its buildings would close to students and staff for a minimum of two weeks. The following day, the 13th, Michelle Ampong received a call asking her to come to her children’s school, Parkside Elementary, in Grant Park. (The school that, full disclosure, my children also attend.) School staff had just one day to distribute all available devices to kids to take home, but many students were missing the necessary permission slips.

Ampong, who’d been helping the school reach out to families living at Trestletree Village Apartments, a low-income family housing complex, joined a small group of other parents and staff. Crammed into an office, they spent the whole day calling and texting families.