Neil Shah, DCNF
A Georgia school district has ordered the quarantine of 925 students and staff following a local outbreak of the coronavirus in their school system, The New York Times reported.
The Cherokee County School District, located north of Atlanta, Georgia, opened for in-person learning on August 3 for over 30,000 students, but is now shuttering one high school in the school district and ordering the quarantine of hundreds of students and school officials.
Cherokee County School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Hightower explained that “there have been 59 positive COVID-19 tests confirmed among our students and staff, which have led us to mandate two-week quarantines for 925 students and staff,” in a statement released to the public.
The school district is shutting down Etowah High School, the reported epicenter of the outbreak with 14 confirmed cases and 15 pending tests, until August 31. Though “extra-curricular athletic activities” will be allowed, per the statement, 294 students and staff at the school are going to be in quarantine due to the outbreak.
Hightower wrote that teachers will deliver their instruction through the “Canvas learning management system” beginning Thursday until the scheduled reopening of the high school on August 31.
The decision to shut down the Etowah High School was made with the approval of the Cherokee County School Board and in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Public Health, according to the statement.
Hightower also urged students and parents to wear a mask and socially distance, even if they don’t believe these measures can mitigate the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
“We know all parents do not believe the scientific research that indicates masks are beneficial, but I believe it and see masks as an important measure to help us keep schools open.”
This warning to socially distance and to wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible comes after a photo of closely packed students from Etowah High School was posted to Twitter on August 4.
Despite being in the middle of a pandemic, today Etowah High School in Cherokee County started their first day of school.
Here's a seniors photo that was taken this morning. pic.twitter.com/3VwzN3d0pE
— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) August 4, 2020
Hightower added that it’s everybody’s responsibility to look after themselves and to take the necessary safety precautions so that the coronavirus outbreak doesn’t grow further.
“We need our entire community to help us keep our promise – we need you to stay home when you’re sick; get tested if you’re symptomatic; report your child’s positive test to our school; follow the quarantine and limit interaction with non-family members during this period; social distance when you can and wear a mask when you can’t.”
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