Resumed schools in Georgia’s Paulding and Cherokee counties drew unfavorable attention this week after viral photos appeared to show students loading hallways with little regard for social distancing or mask-wearing.
The most popular images were taken on Tuesday by a 10 th grader in North Paulding High School who published them on social media and explained the hallway scenario as seriously jammed.
Other viral images showed students from Cherokee County’s Etowah High School and Sequoyah High School standing in close proximity for senior images with nary a mask in sight.
Previous to schools resuming on Monday, North Paulding High School’s principal, Gabe Carmona, sent a letter to moms and dads informing them that members of the football team had contracted COVID-19, not specifying the numbers or the severity of their cases.
According to BuzzFeed, Carmona also attended to the viral images on Wednesday, reportedly specifying over the intercom that trainees who publicly slammed the school on social media could deal with disciplinary action
2 students– consisting of the 10 th grader who published the images of the congested corridor– told BuzzFeed they were suspended for sharing pictures online, with school administration citing offenses of the school’s phone policy and publishing images of minors without consent as reasons for the penalty.
Paulding County Superintendent Brian Otott likewise resolved the images in a declaration, arguing that they were being criticized “without context” and saying the crowds just lasted for a “brief period” when students were transitioning between classes.
” Wearing a mask is a personal choice and there is no useful method to impose a mandate to use them,” Otott said. “What we will do is highly motivate all trainees and personnel to use masks.”
Paulding County schools have both in-person and “virtual academies” readily available during the fall semester, and according to Atlanta media outlet 11 Alive News, 70%of the county’s 31,00 0 trainees have returned for in-person knowing, with 9,00 0 in online classes.
A notification on the district’s websites says that while trainees and personnel are encouraged to use masks during in-person education, face coverings will not be obligatory due to the fact that “the school district acknowledges that using a face mask is a personal option for families.”
A reopening plan on the Cherokee County School Board website reveals a comparable strategy, with both in-person education and a digital knowing program in place. Regulations require “all workers to wear face coverings in situations where social distancing can not be achieved,” while students are “strongly encourage[d] and suggest[ed]” to use masks.
The strategy indicates that the school district “will provide every student with 2 reusable fabric masks upon demand.”
On Tuesday, school authorities at Cherokee County’s Sixes Elementary School announced that a second-grader had actually evaluated positive for COVID-19, requiring the trainee’s class of 20 trainees to undergo a two-week quarantine.
A message from Superintendent Brian V. Hightower said that the district was “ going to take positive cases seriously” and close down schools if necessary.
” We need to fight that great fight together: social distance when we can, and mask up when we can’t; clean our hands, and be kind,” Hightower said. “We are more powerful together.”
Atlanta pediatrician Frita Fisher, a supporter of mandatory masks and social distancing in the classroom, informed 11 Alive News that resuming Georgia schools with shaky social distancing procedures and without making masks compulsory for all trainees was “ very aggravating and unsettling”
” It’s upsetting due to the fact that we are sending our kids to school understanding that we are putting them at an increased risk for spreading out coronavirus among themselves and to the neighborhood,” Fisher said.
This story has actually been updated to show that students sharing images of North Paulding High School’s crowds received suspensions.
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