As administrators, educators and parents throughout the country attempt to figure out how and when to safely reopen schools, a Georgia high school which made national headlines this week after photos of a packed hallway rapidly spread across the internet, reported this weekend that at least six students and three staff members have tested positive for Covid-19.
student returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
North Paulding High, located in the Atlanta suburbs, reopened fully on Monday and garnered nationwide coverage after images of students (many of them not wearing face coverings) jammed into a hallway went viral.
Two North Paulding students were suspended after posting pictures of the school’s crowded interior on social media.
After widespread criticism accusing the school of attempting to silence the students, the district relented and lifted the suspensions on Friday.
“At this time, we know there were six students and three staff members who were in school for at least some time last week who have since reported to us that they have tested positive,” Principal Gabe Carmona wrote in a letter to parents Saturday.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the letter does not include information on whether any other students or teachers who were exposed have to quarantine or whether any classrooms will be closed.
With the coronavirus pandemic still wreaking havoc, the nationwide debate related to school reopenings are increasing in intensity. The majority of the nation’s largest districts have announced that they will begin the year remotely. However, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday that districts across New York can reopen for in-person instruction this fall. The World Health Organization has recommended that schools should only consider opening fully if the average rate of positive coronavirus tests is below 5% over a two-week period in the community. (Most of the state, including New York City, has maintained a positive test rate of approximately 1% in recent weeks.) However, some smaller school districts have resumed in-person classes and are already dealing with coronavirus infections forcing students and staff to quarantine, including in Mississippi, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee and Texas.
A South Korean study published Thursday by JAMA Internal Medicine confirms what many health experts had assumed and feared, that coronavirus carriers who don’t exhibit any symptoms are capable of spreading the virus.
53: That’s the total number, including 23 students, of Covid-19 cases reported in Paulding County schools since July 1, according to Channel 2 Action News via an open records request.
“We have anticipated that Covid-19 would impact us as it has nearly every community, and the district has worked in partnership with the Department of Public Health (DPH) to proactively implement safety precautions and response plans,” Principal Carmona’s letter reads. “Our custodial staff continues to thoroughly clean and disinfect the school building daily, and especially affected areas.”