Six students and three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 just days after photos showing packed hallways and very little mask use at North Paulding High School in Georgia went viral. The school will be closed Monday and Tuesday for deep cleaning while students, parents, and staff wait for a final decision on whether in-person learning will continue or whether they will switch back to online classes.

Featured Video Hide
Advertisement Hide

Paulding Superintendent Brian Otott was apologetic in a letter sent to parents explaining the situation.

“I apologize for any inconvenience this schedule change may cause, but hopefully we all can agree that the health and safety of our students and staff takes precedence over any other considerations at this time,” he wrote.

This high school not only caught attention for the photos, but for suspending the students who posted them, which led to widespread outrage and accusations that the school’s leadership was trying to silence students and prevent bad press. The suspensions had the opposite effect, however, creating further bad press until the punishments were rescinded and removed from students’ records.

Meanwhile, teachers have been complaining that the school’s largely voluntary social distancing and mask policies are a joke and the only “protection” they are allowed is a single bottle of disinfectant that they’re expected to use to sanitize their entire classroom in between periods. These breaks are seven minutes long.

Viruses on surfaces are also far from the only way the infection spreads. Without masks or any appropriate distance between students, one of the infected kids’ fathers suggested that there’s no way to know how many others have been exposed.

“They sat in class all day long with no masks and not social distancing,” said aunt Angie Franks, whose nephews both tested positive. “And I have no idea how many kids they came into contact with.”

The larger public is not taking it easy on North Paulding leadership right now.

Advertisement Hide
Share this article
*First Published: August 10, 2020, 10:01 am