The Cherokee County School district recommends, but does not require, that children wear masks in school

By Claudia Harmata
August 05, 2020 04:29 PM
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A Georgia second grader has tested positive for the coronavirus one day after attending the first day of school.

Sixes Elementary in the Cherokee County School district resumed in-person classes on Monday, and on Tuesday a child tested positive, the district told CNN. The classroom has been temporarily closed for cleaning and the teacher and 20 other students have been asked to quarantine for two weeks.

The school district recommends, but does not require, that children wear masks while attending school, and would only require students to wear masks if there was a statewide mandate.

News of this case comes just one day after Georgia's largest school district, Gwinnett County Public Schools, reported that around 260 employees have either tested positive or been exposed to the virus.

In Indiana, Greenfield Central Junior High School was notified by the county health department that a student had tested positive for the coronavirus within hours of its first day of school.

"We knew it was a when, not if," Harold E. Olin, superintendent of the Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation, told The New York Times. He added that they were "very shocked it was on Day 1."

The school said they immediately isolated the student and ordered everyone who had come into close contact with the person, including other students, to quarantine for 14 days.

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In Mississippi, the Corinth School District announced Wednesday that they had their sixth student test positive since first resuming in-person classes on July 27.

“Being one of the first school districts to reopen, the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control are in close and frequent contact with us to help ensure that we are creating as safe a learning environment as possible,” the school district said in repeated statements on Facebook.

School districts around the country are exploring a variety of approaches to reopening, including teaching fully online, bringing in students on a staggered schedule, providing a combination of remote and in-person classes and offering totally in-person classes.

Last month, educators with underlying medical conditions voiced their fears to PEOPLE over returning to classrooms.

"I'm scared as hell about going back into the classroom," Terri Crothers, 57, an art instructor in Gallipolis, Ohio, told PEOPLE. "I'm frightened that if I catch the virus, I won't survive or I will be left with debilitating effects."

That fear drove Crothers, who suffers from diabetes, to scramble to get her affairs in order. She joins a growing list of anxious school teachers who are meeting lawyers and estate planners to draw up new wills as they face the prospect of being exposed to the virus.

"I don't want to leave my family with the mess of taking care of whatever I might have left behind," Crothers added.

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