A Georgia high school that drew national attention this week after photos of school corridors filled with less masked students went viral has announced it is temporarily taking its lessons only online.
North Paulding High School confirmed six new cases among students and three infections of staff members, less than a week after school resumed.
On Sunday Brian Otott, Paulding County School Supervisor, said the school would close on Monday and lessons 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
Photos shared earlier this week showed some students wearing masks in crowded hallways
Brian Otott has announced that North Paulding High School will switch to online classes
Parents will find out Tuesday night if the in-person class can resume later in the week.
“Hopefully we can all agree that the health and safety of our students and staff take precedence over any other consideration at this time,” Otott said in his letter, which was received by Atlanta area media.
One of the students who took the viral photos, Hannah Watters, 15, was initially suspended for posting the images.
The school later reversed its decision to suspend the Watters.
Hannah Watters photographed the corridors
“This morning my school called and they deleted my suspension,” Watters said.
‘To be 100 percent clear, I can go back to school on Monday. I could not have done this without all the support, thank you. ‘
Watters had previously said the school had told her she was being suspended for violating the code of conduct using a cell phone and social media during school hours and violating students’ privacy by photographing them.
Following the publication of the photos, a hotline of information was set up by a local representative to allow students and staff to raise concerns about security measures being taken at their schools.
The 15-year-old tweeted on Friday morning that her suspension had been canceled
Georgia House Rep. Beth Moore has urged students and staff to share their stories
Angie Franks told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that two of her grandchildren were among six students who tested positive at school this week.
One of the boys returned home from school on Monday without the sense of smell and was immediately taken for a try.
His brother also started showing symptoms and they were confirmed with coronavirus on Wednesday.
Since then they are being quarantined at home, but Franks expressed concern about other students who may have exhibited on Monday.
Letter sent by director Gabe Carmona to parents confirming new cases
The school has confirmed far more cases than any other in the district since July 1st
“They sat in the classroom all day without masks and not social distance,” Franks said. “And I have no idea how many kids they came in contact with.”
She added that they were not encouraged to wear masks in classrooms and hallways, and that the boys did not understand the aggravation of the situation.
Comes as 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.
There have been 53 cases reported since the beginning of July in Paulding County schools, but most have only one confirmed case.
Schools did not start in-person classes until August 3rd.
In response to viral images, the Georgia House Department, Rep. Beth Moore set up an anonymous email account announced Friday for students, teachers and administrators to send photos, videos and evidence of the situation to their schools.
She has since posted some disturbing claims that a school district board has tested positive for coronavirus and that in another school, teachers have not yet been supplied with protective and cleaning equipment.
Georgia State Representative Beth Moore Shares Fraud About School District Board Member Having Coronavirus
She has set up a whistle phone line and is distributing teacher stories
One teacher claimed that the staff was not supplied with the necessary cleaning products
“This tweet has only been out for 1 hour and I have already received some disturbing advice from a county school board member trying positively, not telling anyone, and I will have lunch at a restaurant a few days later,” she wrote in a tweet Friday.
“It’s the same leadership failure at the state and federal levels.”
A teacher at Gwinnett claimed that teachers were forced into a personal meeting where not everyone wore masks and those who tried social distance were told to get closer.
“My principal is great and I think she is being pushed to do things she knows are neither appropriate nor feasible,” the teacher wrote.
Another teacher from the same district claimed that the school caretaker was almost in tears telling the teachers that they did not have enough cleaning equipment to give the teachers for their classrooms.
“He said that if he is not secured soon, he will leave because he does not want to feel responsible for people who get sick or God will not die,” they write.
They added that teachers had not been told where to isolate students if they were confirmed to have coronavirus during school hours and that no additional care staff had been hired to assist with the extra cleaning.
Video shared on social media earlier this week showed crowded corridors
A series of photographs showed the breathtaking corridors at North Paulding High School
In the photos, which were taken on Monday and Tuesday, less than half of the students featured have masks.
There is no mandate for a nationwide mask in the state of Georgia.
Watters told CNN she posted the photos because she was concerned about the safety of students and teachers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was concerned for the safety of everyone in that building and everyone in the county because the precautions that the CDC and the guidelines that the CDC has been telling us for months were not being followed,” Watters said.
She went on to refer to the late John Lewis saying: ‘I mean this is a good and necessary trouble.
‘My biggest concern is not just with safety, but with everyone, because behind every teacher, student and staff member there is a family, there are friends, and I would just like to keep them all safe. ‘
In the Cherokee County School District, staff and students at a school were forced to begin another 14-day quarantine this week after a second-grader tested positive after their first return.
On Saturday, Georgia confirmed the death of a seven-year-old boy from coronavirus complications who had no pre-existing conditions. He contracted the virus after attending church.
The state now has more than 216,600 cases and over 4,199 deaths with a positivity rate of 11.92 percent.
More than 3,100 new cases were confirmed Sunday, and 13 deaths.