Coronavirus Sends 250 Georgia School Employees Into Quarantine
Georgia’s largest school district has reversed course on in-person learning after 250 employees either tested positive for coronavirus or are in quarantine due to possible exposure.
Gwinnett County Public School teachers were pre-planning their classrooms August 29 at more than 100 facilities throughout the county. The next day, more than 250 employees had been excluded from work due to a positive case or contact with a case. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the number of infected staff could be higher.
“Through tracing, we know that the majority of these cases are the result of community spread, meaning we have people who have called in to report who have not been at school or work,” Gwinnett spokeswoman Sloan Roach told the AJC.
Roach added the district has safety protocols in place, including cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
“We have reporting and tracing processes in place. We also have a protocol for excluding employees who are positive or are a contact,” Roach told the AJC. “In addition, there are protocols for making reports to the Health Department when there are two or more related cases.”
Gwinnett County has one of the highest coronavirus testing rates in the state. As of July 30, the county had 14,000 coronavirus cases and 209 deaths.
The situation has prompted the county to cancel in-person classes and embrace online schooling. According to CNN, Roach said the decision was made “due to the current COVID-19 situation in our county and the rising number of cases in Gwinnett County.”
“We had hoped and wanted to start the school year in-person. We had planned to serve students in that manner, as well as digitally,” Roach said. “However, out of concern for our students, families, and employees, we had to make the very difficult decision to start entirely digitally. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Gwinnett County, using that information to determine when we can safely pivot to in-person instruction.”
In Paulding County, an hour and a half west of Gwinnett, Patch reported several students on the North Paulding High School football team tested positive for coronavirus a day before the school opened for the 2020-21 school year. Additionally, a photo at the school showing a crowded hallway with only a few students wearing face masks went viral.