A Georgia school district that saw the beginnings of a coronavirus outbreak and now has more than 1,100 students and staff members in quarantine has opted to close a high school only eight days after the beginning of the school year. Cherokee County School District Superintendent Brian Hightower said in a message to parents that the decision to cease in-person teaching at the school came after 14 people connected to Etowah High School tested positive for the virus, and 15 more had been tested but had not received results. “As a result of the confirmed cases, 294 students and staff are under quarantine and, should the pending tests prove positive, that total would increase dramatically,” Hightower said.
The district had a total of 59 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Hightower’s Tuesday message. The district does not mandate that masks be worn while in school, but Hightower encouraged children going to schools that have not closed to wear masks. “As your Superintendent, I wear a mask whenever I cannot social distance,” Hightower said. “We know all parents do not believe the scientific research that indicates masks are beneficial, but I believe it and see masks as an important measure to help us keep schools open.”