CHEROKEE COUNTY, Georgia (CNN) – A Georgia second-grader tested positive for Covid-19 after attending the first day of school, the school district told CNN.
Sixes Elementary in the Cherokee County School district began in-person classes on Monday. But by Tuesday, a classroom was temporarily closed for deep cleaning and the teacher and 20 other students had been asked to quarantine for two weeks after the second-grader tested positive.
Parents and officials have debated whether it is safe to send students back into classrooms as virus cases have surged across the country. While health experts are still investigating how children spread the virus, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci has emphasized that schools need to include safety in their reopening plans.
Cherokee County recommends, but does not require, that children wear masks in school whenever social distancing is not possible, according to the school district’s reopening plan. The district would only require students to wear masks if there was a statewide mandate in place. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has fought mayors’ attempts to mandate mask use.
Cases connected to schools have broken out in Georgia even as some schools opt for all-remote learning for the start of the year.
Since Marietta City Schools began preplanning on July 27, five employees have tested positive and another is presumed positive, Jen Brock, the system’s executive director of communications told CNN.
The employees work in the teaching, transportation and janitorial. The first day of school was Tuesday, but classes were all taught virtually, Brock said.
Earlier this week, around 260 employees were reported to have either tested positive or been exposed in Georgia’s largest school district, Gwinnett County Public Schools.
“As of last Thursday, we had approximately 260 employees who had been excluded from work due to a positive case or contact with a case,” GCPS spokeswoman Sloan Roach told CNN Sunday. “This number is fluid as we continue to have new reports and others who are returning to work,” she added.
The district is set to reopen for online learning August 12.