PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — After it reported nine cases of COVID-19 among students and staff, school officials announced a local high school will close for two days to disinfect.
North Paulding High School will have digital learning days on Monday and Tuesday, the Paulding County superintendent said in a letter to parents. Teachers will dole out assignments online Monday morning.
Officials said they consulted with the Georgia Department of Public health after three staff members and six students tested positive for the coronavirus just one week into the school year. All nine of those people were at school for at least a few days last week.
Officials said the school will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
“The district will consult with the Department of Public Health to assess the environment and determine if there are any additional close contacts for confirmed cases who have not already been notified,” officials wrote.
The country got its first glimpse inside of North Paulding High last week, after student Hannah Watters posted a picture of a jam-packed school hallway with few students wearing masks. The pictures went viral and garnered national attention.
“I’d like to say that this was good and necessary trouble so I don’t regret posting this because it needed to be said,” Watters said in an interview with CNN. “We were only in school for three days and the fact that we have nine COVID cases is very concerning.”
Watters said exposure is particularly high in hallways because “we’re all smushed together.”
Watters said she believes her school is serving as an experiment for the rest of the country.
“They kind of sent us to school and used us as Guinea pigs to see what would happen later on,” Watters said.
School officials have not said if any students have been asked to quarantine after coming in contact with students and staff who tested positive.
Officials said the number of confirmed cases could increase if there are currently pending tests that prove positive.
Parents and students will be notified Tuesday night if digital learning will continue or if in-person classes will resume.
Channel 2′s Mike Petchenik learned that according to an open records request verified by Rep. Beth Moore, Paulding County Schools have reported a total of 53 cases of coronavirus within the district since July 1. Twenty-three of those were among students who attend North Paulding High School. Students did not return back to school until Aug. 3.
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