A handful of schools in Georgia opened this week as the pandemic raged beyond their doors, while officials worked to balance the risk of spreading the coronavirus against the urgent need to get students in front of teachers.
The pandemic did not stay outside the schoolhouse doors in Canton. In its second day of the new school year, the Cherokee County School District shut down a second-grade classroom at Sixes Elementary School after a student tested positive for COVID-19, spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said Tuesday, adding that the teacher and 20 other students in the class must quarantine for two weeks. The teacher, who is symptom-free, will teach the class online from home and the classroom will be deep cleaned.
Also, on the first day of school Tuesday in Marietta, where students are fully remote, a spokeswoman said five district employees had tested positive for COVID-19.
More than three-quarters of Cherokee County’s 42,000 students returned to classes Monday, while 23% chose the district’s digital learning option. Cherokee is among the first districts in the country to reopen in what will be a vast experiment in keeping a wily and determined virus at bay.
“We are still not sure what the best ways to open different schools are,” said Charlene Wong, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Duke School of Medicine. “This is going to be an opportunity for us to learn and to course correct as we go because we are probably not going to get it right out of the gate…this is the first time we ever tried to do something at this scale across the country.”