As the novel coronavirus continues to roar in the United States, school districts across the country continue to insist on holding in-person classes. While teachers, students, and communities in general have spoken out with safety concerns about face-to-face school amid the pandemic, some schools have now been open long enough for hard evidence to come out. Like what? Take one county just outside of Atlanta in northern Georgia, for instance.
The Cherokee County School District opened about one week ago. Initially, the district had one elementary school student test positive for the virus after attending the first day of in-person school, which led to the district telling 20 people to self-quarantine. Since then, the school has instructed a whopping 826 people to quarantine due to possible virus exposure, as reported by NBC News. According to the school district, this number includes more than 800 students and 42 staff members, from a total of 19 schools in the county.
This county recommends that students wear masks, but does not require them to do so.
In terms of positive cases, the school district released an update on Monday evening, saying that 38 students, as well as 12 teachers and staff members, had tested positive for the virus. The school district is reportedly doing contact tracing to determine contact cases and possible exposures.
Bizarrely, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp insists that all is going well with the school reopenings in his state. On Monday, Kemp said there are “going to be issues when you open anything, we saw that when we opened businesses, we’re seeing that when we open schools,” as reported by Georgia Public Radio. Mind you, this is a great reason why neither businesses nor schools should be open for in-person service. The governor also stated he felt this week “went real well other than a couple virtual photos.”
Speaking of viral photos: It’s no surprise that Hannah Watters, a sophomore from North Paulding High School who was suspended for posting photos and videos of her school’s packed hallways to social media (which has since been reversed by the school), told CNN in an interview that she felt “They kind of sent us to school and used us as guinea pigs to see what would happen later on.”
Sadly, this isn’t even an entirely isolated issue; districts across the nation are reopening—and seeing frightening results. After one school in Mississippi reopened, for example, 116 students were told to quarantine. How long had the school been open? Just one week.