More than 800 in quarantine in Georgia school district after classes return

More than 800 students in a Georgia school district have been told to self-quarantine after dozens tested positive for COVID-19 — just a week after the return of in-person classes, officials said Tuesday.

Since classes got back in session on August 3, at least 58 people across 19 schools in the Cherokee County School District have tested positive for the virus, local outlet WSB-TV reported.

As of Tuesday morning, 826 students and 42 staff members were in isolation after potentially being exposed, district officials said.

The most-affected school was Etowah High School, which announced it would be closing again until August 31, with 13 cases reported and 12.5 percent of the student population, or 300 children, in quarantine.

A photo of students standing shoulder to shoulder without masks on outside the school was shared widely online last week, according to WSB-TV.

The school district does require teachers to wear masks when they can’t socially distance, but only encourages students to wear face-coverings.

More than 30,000 of the district’s 42,000 students went back for in-classroom instruction when schools reopened, with the others opting for virtual learning.

Those now in quarantine will also be learning online. Any affected classrooms are being deep-cleaned before reopening, district officials said.

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