Four tiny Georgia public school districts have temporarily shut down in-person instruction within days of starting school, saying high COVID-19 case counts are forcing school closings and a return to virtual learning to protect students and staff.
Macon, Talbot, Taliaferro and Glascock County school official say a surge in COVID-19 case counts among students and staff makes it unsafe to continue.
Gwinnett County Public Schools documented 250 cases from Wednesday, Aug. 4 — its first day of school — to Sunday, Aug. 8.
Students in Atlanta Public Schools returned to classrooms on Thursday, Aug. 5 but Monday, Aug. 9 the district reported 90 cases of the coronavirus – 86 in schools and four in district offices.
The cases included 60 students and 26 staff.
The highest counts were at Drew Elementary School, which had eight cases, and Jackson High School, which had six cases.
In Gwinnett County, the state’s largest school district reported 250 new cases of the coronavirus from Wednesday – the first day of school – to Sunday.
The Gwinnett cases involve 222 students and 28 school district employees, according to reports posted on the district’s website. New Gwinnett County schools superintendent and the first African American to hold that position, Dr. Calvin J. Watts said he supports his predecessor’s decision to require masks for its approximately 177,000
City Schools of Decatur reported 10 cases from Tuesday, the first day of school, to Friday. Seven of those cases were students, while three were staff. Approximately 5,700 students are enrolled in City of Decatur schools.
On Friday, Aug. 6 the DeKalb County School District reported 213 cases of the coronavirus — 95 staff and 118 students. The data is listed as beginning on July 1. The district does identify cases by school in the report posted to its website.
Masks are mandatory for it approximately 93,000 students.
The Cobb County School District reported 185 active cases among the 107,000 student body of the coronavirus along with staff on Friday, Aug. 6
Elementary schools reported the highest total with 86 cases, while there were 47 cases in middle schools and 52 cases in high schools. Masks are optionl, but “strongly encouraged” for it’s approximately 107,000 students
In the days leading up to its Aug. 9 start date, the Fulton County district reported 91 positive cases of the coronavirus among students and staff.
The district reported 53 individuals in quarantine, including 13 from Mountain Park Elementary, 12 from Roswell High school and 10 from Roswell North Elementary.
The district recently announced masks will be required in areas with high coronavirus case counts. On Sunday, Superintendent Mike Looney tweeted that information about “an alternative option for parents who oppose the district’s temporary masking requirement” will be provided by Thursday.
Masks: Required in schools located in areas with high COVID-19 case counts
Students: Around 94,4000
This story has been updated. Staff writers Alia Malik, Vanessa McCray, Leon Stafford and Ty Tagami contributed to this report.