Start of school or the start of a quarantine?
By: Luke Wang
A new nightmare has begun for the members of the Cherokee county school district in Georgia after several students from the district have tested positive for the virus after the start of school, leading to over 900 students and staff members placed into quarantine.
The chain reaction started when the principal of Sixes elementary school, Dr. Ashley Kennerly, wrote this letter to the parents of students at her school: “Dear Parents, I am writing this letter in order to communicate that a student in 2nd grade has tested positive for Covid-19.” The letter went out on August 4th, only one day after Cherokee county students returned to school.
By the end of the school day on week’s Friday, principals at 10 other schools had sent similar letters to families in the Cherokee county school district. More letters are still being continuously passed out as of this week at the suburb north of Atlanta. In response, a local high school decided to remain shut until the end of the month on August 31st.
Reopening the school has been a serious but important topic of discussion not only in the Cherokee county school district.“This is exactly what we expected to happen,” said Allison Webb, 44, who quit her job as a Spanish and French teacher in the local district. She is a strong opponent against reopening the schools which she refers to as “not safe.”
However, Jenny Beth Martin, a district parent and the co-founder of the national teacup patriots, an local conservative group have expressed her own and different opinion: “I think that the opening plan is working, they’re checking, they’re making sure when people have tested positive that they’re watching the exposure and spread.”
The background of the incident is clear, while many of the US’s largest school systems have been reluctant to open in recent weeks to start the academic year physically and have rather resorted to online teaching, the state of Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Indiana and other locations mostly in suburbs and rural areas have already been undertaking “physical” classes for two weeks now.
Risks are still shown to be high with incidents such as this one. Even a single or small amount of school members that test positive for the virus can easily force the other school members into a rapid two-week quarantine. Nevertheless, the experience from this incident is certainly a roadblock that stops the schools eager to reopen.