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9 People Test Positive For COVID-19 At Georgia High School That Went Viral For That Hallway Pic, And They're Now Going Virtual

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A picture of Georgia students’ first day back for face-to-face classes – with no one wearing masks - amid the Coronavirus pandemic quickly went viral. The student who posted the picture was suspended, but the school recently reversed that decision. After 9 people tested positive for the virus, the school is now doing online learning. More inside…


North Paulding High School gained national attention last week when a photo of students packed in a hallway - without wearing masks - went viral. And it caused outrage on social media.

In the picture, students are seen walking through the hallway shoulder-to-shoulder as Coronavirus cases continue to climb in Georgia. It was taken on the one of the first few days back for face-to-face cases.

Many school divisions across the country have opted for online classes, at least for the first nine weeks of school due to the pandemic that’s still very much an issue in the country. Despite the number of positive cases in Georgia continuing to rise, Georgia school officials decided to reopen schools.

Now, the school (including those who did not want to be ther ein the first place for this very reason) is paying the consequences.

Six students and three staff members who were at North Paulding High School last week have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The school plans to temporarily shut down and classes will resume online for at least a couple days this week. The district said it needs time to disinfect the building and to also trace back to those potentially infected.

“On Monday and Tuesday, the school will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and the district will consult with the Department of Public Health to assess the environment and determine if there (are) any additional close contacts for confirmed cases who have not already been identified,” Paulding Superintendent Brian Otott wrote in a letter to parents Sunday.

He also implied the school followed COVID-19 guidelines.

"Under the COVID-19 protocols we have adopted, class changes that look like this may happen, especially at a high school with more than 2,000 students," he said.

Otott said the school is working to further limit large crowds and noted that "students are in this hallway environment for just a brief period as they move to their next class."

Parents will be notified Tuesday evening whether the high school will reopen Wednesday.



Hannah Watters – a 15-year-old sophomore – was originally suspended for posting the image on social media. She said North Paulding High School suspended her for using her phone without permission on school grounds, using her phone for social media during school hours and posting images of minors without their consent.

Days later, school officials reversed the decision.

“I was happily surprised,” Hannah told NBC News.

“They disciplined me for things that everyone does at that school,” she said. “The severity of it was unnecessary.”

The Paulding County School District started classes for the fall semester last Monday. They also offered digital classes along with in-person classes. Students are not required to wear face masks at school. According to its website, it’s only encouraged. 

What exactly did they think would happen? Going totally virtual should have been the district’s decision for the safety of the students and staff. There are a total 216,596 positive cases in the state of Georgia with 4,199 deaths.

This isn’t the only school district in Georgia battling COVID cases.

After one week of classes, more than 250 students and teachers in Cherokee County School District have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the district’s website.  Meanwhile, Cobb County Schools said it will continue with online-only classes after the Georgia Department of Health alerted it to about the 100 potential cases.

Greenfield Central Junior High School in Indiana had to shift to online learning after just two days. A student received a positive test on the very first day of classes. Students at Corinth High School in northern Mississippi were forced to quarantine after classmates tested positive for the Coronavirus during the first week of classes.

Now, school officials across the nation must decide whether to reopen schools or go online. Many school districts have already opted for online learning.

According to a new American Academy of Pediatrics report, nearly 100,000 children have tested positive for the Coronavirus in the last two weeks of July. Just over 97,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus from July 16th to July 30th, according to the association.

In July, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) said he wanted kids back in schools in person because they're safer there, "from a nutrition standpoint, child abuse, human trafficking."

Really sir?

And here we are...

Photo: Hannah Watters/AP

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