Georgia high school, where viral photos showed crowded hallways, is switching to online-only classes
A Georgia high school that rose to fame this week after full-school photos of mask-free students went viral, announced that it is switching its classes to online-only.
North Paulding High School confirmed six new cases among students and three infections to staff members less than a week after school resumed.
On Sunday, Brian Otott, Superintendent of Paulding County Schools, said the school would be closed on Mondays and the classes would be online.
In a letter to parents, Otott said Monday and Tuesday will be used to clean and disinfect the school.
North Paulding High School confirmed nine cases of COVID-19 this week and will go online
Images shared earlier this week showed that few students wore masks in the crowded hallways
Brian Otott has announced that North Paulding High School will be switching to online classes
Parents will learn on Tuesday evening whether in-person classes can resume later in the week.
“Hopefully, we can all agree that the health and safety of our students and staff takes precedence over all other considerations at this point,” Otott said in his letter, which was obtained through news outlets in Atlanta.
One of the students who took the viral photos, Hannah Watters, 15, was initially banned for posting the images.
The school later reversed its decision on Watters’ suspension.
Hannah Watters photographed the hallways
“My school called this morning and they removed my suspension,” Watters said.
‘To be clear: I can go back to school on Monday. I couldn’t have done this without all the support, thank you. ‘
Watters had previously said the school had told her she was banned for violating the code of conduct by using a cellphone and social media during school hours and for violating students’ privacy by photographing them.
Following the publication of the photos, a local representative set up a whistleblower’s hotline where students and staff can raise concerns about the security measures being taken at their school.
The 15-year-old tweeted Friday morning that her suspension had been withdrawn
Beth Moore, Georgia House representative, has called on students and staff to share their stories
Angie Franks told me Atlanta Journal Constitution that two of her cousins were among the six students who tested positive at the school this week.
One of the boys returned from school on Monday with no sense of smell and was immediately taken to be tested.
His brother also started to show symptoms, which were confirmed with coronavirus on Wednesday.
They have since been quarantined at home, but Franks expressed concern about the other students who may have come to light on Monday.
Director Gabe Carmona’s letter to parents confirming the new cases
The school has confirmed far more cases since July 1 than any other in the district
“They sat in class all day without masks and without social distance,” Franks said. “And I have no idea how many children they have come into contact with.”
She added that they had not been encouraged to wear masks in classrooms and hallways, and the boys did not understand the gravity of the situation.
It comes like WSB TV Atlanta reports that the school has confirmed 23 cases of coronavirus since July 1, far more than any other school in the district.
53 cases have been reported in Paulding County schools as of early July, but the majority have only one confirmed case.
The schools only started personal education on August 3.
In response to the viral images, Georgia State House Rep. Beth Moore set up an anonymous whistleblower email account on Friday for students, faculty and administrators to send photos, videos and testimonials of the situation in their schools.
She has since posted several disturbing claims that a school board has tested positive for the coronavirus and that teachers at another school have yet to be provided with protective and cleaning supplies.
Georgia State Representative Beth Moore Shares Mussels That School Board Member Has Coronavirus
She has set up a whistleblower hotline and shares teachers’ stories
A teacher claimed that the staff had not received the necessary cleaning products
“ This tweet has only been up for 1 a.m. and I already got a disturbing tip from a county board member who tested positive, told no one, and went to lunch at a restaurant a few days later, ” she wrote in a tweet Friday.
“It’s the same failure of leadership at the state and federal levels.”
A teacher in Gwinnett claimed that teachers were forced into a face-to-face meeting, where not everyone wore masks and those who tried to distance themselves were told to get closer.
“My principal is great and I feel like she’s being forced to do things she knows are not good or feasible,” the teacher wrote.
Another teacher from the same district claimed that the school’s guardian was almost in tears telling teachers they didn’t have enough cleaning supplies to provide teachers for their classrooms.
“He said if it is not provided soon, he will leave because he does not want to feel responsible for people who get sick or God forbid – die,” they wrote.
They added that teachers have not been told where to isolate students if they are confirmed to have coronavirus during school hours and that no additional security personnel have been hired to help with the extra cleanup.
Video shared on social media earlier this week showed the crowded hallways
A series of photos showed the busy corridors of North Paulding High School
In the photos, taken on Monday and Tuesday, less than half of the students shown are wearing a mask.
There is no statewide mask mandate in the state of Georgia.
Watters told CNN she posted the photos because she was concerned about the safety of students and teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was concerned about the safety of everyone in that building and everyone in the county because the precautions the CDC and the guidelines the CDC has been telling us for months were not being followed,” Watters said.
She then referred to the late John Lewis, saying, “I would like to say that this is a good and necessary problem.
“My main concern isn’t just that I’m safe, it’s about everyone being safe, because behind every teacher, student, and employee is a family, there are friends, and I just would like to keep everyone safe.”
In the Cherokee County School District, staff and students from one school were forced to start another 14-day quarantine this week after a second grader tested positive after their first day back.
On Saturday, Georgia confirmed the death of a seven-year-old boy from complications from the coronavirus who had no pre-existing conditions. He contracted the virus after going to church.
The state now has more than 209,000 cases and more than 4,117 deaths with a positivity rate of 11.92 percent.