A coyote reportedly prowled its way behind Liberty Middle School earlier this week.
Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of public relations for Newton County Schools, said in an email that what was first thought to be a fox was later confirmed to be a coyote behind the middle school, which is adjacent to South Salem Elementary School.
Davis-Viniard said that as a precaution, South Salem Elementary students have not gone out on the playground for the past few days.
She said extracurricular activities at Liberty Middle were held Wednesday afternoon, but school system officials are monitoring the situation closely.
"We are working with a wildlife management specialist to determine the best way to address the issue. Both South Salem and Liberty Middle School had previously sent school messenger calls to all parents regarding this."
In May, a fox bit two 6-year-old boys at Rocky Plains Elementary School while they were playing outside.
A teacher was able to kick the fox and get the animal off the students, and approximately 50 kindergarten students were immediately taken off the playground.
At that time, Newton County Animal Control Director Teri Key-Hoosen said that, as humans move into wild animals’ habitats, the animals don’t understand human boundaries.
She said everyone should be aware of her/his surroundings, especially in wooded areas. Key-Hoosen recommended that people remove brush and wood piles near their homes; don’t throw out food scraps or grease that would attract wildlife; don’t leave pet food outside overnight; and vaccinate all pets for rabies.