260 Employees in Georgia School District Test Positive for or Exposed to COVID-19

The Gwinnett County School District serves about 180,000 students

Shoppers wearing protective masks stand to the cash till at the department store in Tbilisi on June 1, 2020
Shoppers in Georgia. Photo: VANO SHLAMOV/AFP via Getty

Just one day after returning to in-person work, 260 employees in Georgia’s largest school district were confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus or to have been exposed to the illness.

Last Wednesday, teachers in the Gwinnett County School District, which serves more than 180,000 students, began in-person planning for the completely virtual fall semester, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

By Thursday, 260 employees “had been excluded” from work due to exposure to COVID-19.

"As of last Thursday, we had approximately 260 employees who had been excluded from work due to a positive case or contact with a case," the district’s spokeswoman, Sloan Roach, told CNN. "This number is fluid as we continue to have new reports and others who are returning to work.”

“Through tracing, we know that the majority of these cases are the result of community spread, meaning we have people who have called in to report who have not been at school or work,” Roach added to the AJC.

Gwinnett County has the second highest rate of coronavirus cases in the state, with a total of 17,927. The county has also seen a recent spike in cases and has had the highest number of cases reported in Georgia in the last seven days, according to data from The New York Times.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, 240 people have died of the coronavirus in Gwinnett.

News of the cases among employees in the Georgia school district comes as other districts across the country are weighing whether to hold in-person classes in the fall or go completely online, as Gwinnett County has done.

A teacher checks temperature of students at a high school
A teacher checks temperature of students at a high school. Getty

CNN reports that only one out of the 15 biggest school districts across the U.S. will be allowing students to return for in-person classes. At least 10 have decided to start the semester with online-only learning.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that “children of all ages are susceptible to” the coronavirus and “contrary to early reports … might play an important role in transmission.”

The findings were part of a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report which revealed that 260 campers and staffers at a Georgia overnight camp had tested positive for the coronavirus.

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