A primary school in Georgia closed a classroom after a second-grader tested positive for the coronavirus in just two days in the new academic year, while photos of students packed nearby raised questions about personal safety safety policies.
Cherokee and Polding County, two of the country’s first reopening school districts, resumed full-time classes five days a week on Monday. However, these early days of navigation with educational instruction in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic provided schools with new challenges.
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Cherokee County School officials said Tuesday that a teacher at Shests Elementary School near Canton and 20 other students were sent home to quarantine and study online for 1
Authorities said the teacher showed no signs of symptoms of COVID-19, FOX5 Atlanta reported.
Meanwhile, Cherokee and Paulding schools face issues related to their non-binding policies.
In Cherokee County, dozens of seniors gathered at two of the district’s six high schools to take the traditional first day of school high school photos, with students huddled together in black outfits. No one in the photos at Sequoyah High School in Hickory Flat or Etowah High School in Woodstock wore a mask.
Cherokee County School District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said the photos were not sanctioned activities and officials only found out when the photos were posted on social media.
In Polding County, photos of students taken Monday and Tuesday show crowded corridors at North Polding High School in Dallas. Many students were not seen wearing masks.
Polding County Governor Brian Otto wrote in an email Tuesday that the photos were accurate, according to the Associated Press, adding that the area followed state guidelines.
He said classroom changes were a “challenge” and that “this is an area where we continue to work in this new environment to find practical ways to further restrict students from coming together.”
He added that “there is no doubt that the photo does not look good”, but defended the decision of the district not to require masks, writing that wearing a mask is a personal choice and there is no practical way to impose a mandate to wear them. “
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In both areas, parents are given the opportunity to study five days a week or to study online. In Cherokee, 22 percent chose to study distance, while 30 percent of students chose it in Polding, the Associated Press reported.
In other school districts in the country, students start the year with distance learning.
The 180,000-student Gwinnett district said it would begin training on all virtuals on Aug. 12. He later announced that kindergartens, first graders, sixth graders, freshmen and some students with special education would return to school as early as August. 26, with other steps following stages.
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Gwinnett and Cobb County, which also announced all virtual classes, are facing protests from parents demanding private lessons.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.