Nearly 1,200 students, staff under quarantine in Cherokee County

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — Cherokee County Schools says 1,193 students and staff members are quarantined because of possible exposure to COVID-19.

The school system keeps a database of known positive cases and how many students or staff are quarantined as a result.

As of Wednesday morning, officials said that 1,156 students and 37 staff members were quarantined.

[RELATED: COUNTY-BY-COUNTY: Plans for returning to school this fall]

Cherokee County Schools reopened on August 3 with in-person and virtual options for learning offered. More than 30,000 of the district’s 42,000 students opted to go back for in-classroom instruction.

The district is reporting over 70 positive cases across 21 schools. The school district does not release data on positive cases until after a letter has been sent out to parents. Quarantined students are learning online. Affected classrooms are deep-cleaned before reopening.

According to data released by the district, the school with the highest impact is Etowah High School, which is reporting 17 positive cases of coronavirus and hundreds of students under quarantine. That’s 12.5% of the school’s 2,400 students.

A photo of students standing shoulder to shoulder with no masks outside Etowah High School went viral last week.

The district is only encouraging mask-wearing among students and requiring it for teachers when they can’t socially distance.

Other impacted schools are Avery, Woodstock, Free Home, Boston, Liberty, Carmel, Mt. Road, Bascomb, Holly Springs, R.M. Moore, Hasty and Sixes elementary schools; Freedom, Creekland, E.T. Booth and Dean Rusk middle schools; and Creekview, Cherokee, River Ridge and Woodstock high schools.

The Cherokee County School District has 42,000 students.