The Cherokee County School District has about 40,000 students enrolled across its elementary, junior, and high schools. As of late Monday, according to a list sent home to parents, 800 of those kids are being asked to quarantine for the next two weeks due to possible exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes COVID-19. Dozens of staff members are also being asked to quarantine.
It is not known how if any of the students and adults being asked to quarantine have tested positive for the virus. The district conducts thorough contact tracing, using it to determine who is and is not allowed inside the buildings.
“If a student’s exposure to a student or employee who has tested positive meets the Department of Health’s requirements for mandated precautionary quarantine, parents/guardians will be immediately advised,” the district said in a statement.
Similarly, according to NBC News, spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said that school officials will not hesitate to quarantine any student or staff member who has possibly been exposed to the virus.
The district encourages students to wear masks, but does not require them to do so.
Cherokee Superintendent Brian V. Hightower was forced to address the lack of masks after a viral photo was snapped inside one of the district’s schools. The pic showed students crowded together in a hallway, with few of them wearing face coverings. Hightower admitted that many students in the district seem to not understand the importance of wearing masks.
Another Georgia school district recently made headlines for its students failing to follow safety precautions: as previously reported by The Inquisitr, a student at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, also snapped a photo of maskless students crowded into a hallway, which also went viral.
Day two at North Paulding High School. It is just as bad. We were stopped because it was jammed. We are close enough to the point where I got pushed multiple go to second block. This is not ok. Not to mention the 10% mask rate. pic.twitter.com/JKbGYqG9RS
— hannah (@ihateiceman) August 4, 2020
However, in the case of sophomore Hannah Watters, she was suspended after posting the photo, officially for violating school rules about cell phone use and violating her peers’ privacy. Her suspension was later overturned following public outcry.
As with the Cherokee case, a Paulding official was also compelled to address the issue of masks. He claimed that Hannah’s photo was taken out of context, and that though his district encourages students to wear masks, it can’t force them to.
Meanwhile, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said that he believes his state is handling school openings just fine.
“I think quite honestly this week went real well,” he said.