Day before metro Atlanta school set to open, principal reports COVID-19 cases on football team

Paulding County schools start today amid coronavirus pandemic

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — Concerned students, teachers and parents have reached out to Channel 2 Action News after a metro Atlanta high school reported cases of coronavirus days before the start of the school year.

North Paulding High School Principal Gabe Carmona sent a letter to families Sunday, saying members of the high school football team were coming down with the virus.

School is set to start on August 3 with both in-person and virtual learning options. More than 20,000 of the district’s 31,000 students have signed up for in-person classes.

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"I want you to know that while preparing for the upcoming season, our football team has learned of both new positive tests and potential symptoms within the program," Carmona wrote.

Carmona did not give specifics on how many people were infected.

Carmona said the affected football players may have been in contact with other North Paulding High students and asked parents to monitor their children for symptoms. Football practice has been suspended for a week.

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Several students, teachers and parents have reached out to Channel 2 Action News anonymously to express their concern.

“A couple hours ago the principle sent out this message (attaches down below) regarding athletes/students that have been tested positive for COVID-19, hours before the first day of school tomorrow, August 3,” a student. “They expect us to be in school with dozens of students with confirmed cases.”

“Teachers are concerned as well,” one teacher wrote to us. “It’s not safe to go back.”

“I do wish we had just pushed it back to Sept. 8,” a parent said. “I feel like that would have been the best choice.”

Starting Monday, students who go back to in-class instruction will be in the school building three days a week on a regular schedule with two days of digital learning.

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