The school in the Atlanta suburb of Dallas was shoved onto the national stage last week when at least two students shared pictures and video of a crowded hallway filled with their mostly maskless peers. The students were suspended for posting the images, a decision that was later reversed. The school shuttered its doors this week cleaning after six students and at least three staff members tested positive for the novel coronavirus over the weekend.
The new cases and the rate of virus spread means the district will have to adjust its in-person learning curriculum, the district stated.
Paulding County reported 45 new cases Wednesday, bringing the county’s total confirmed cases to 1,789 since March, according to Washington Post data.
The district’s new plan will include a hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning in an effort to mitigate the crowding and congestion issues at the school, which has more than 2,000 students. Students will be on campus for two days a week based on their last names and will spend the rest of their school week engaging in digital learning.
In its first week open, the school held in-classroom instruction for three days, with two days of virtual learning so the district could assess how its schools were operating.
Masks were strongly encouraged but not mandatory, and social distancing wasn’t guaranteed on buses and in classrooms.
The push to continue on-campus learning appears to meet the desires of community members who attended an emotionally charged county Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, video shows.
Parents, teachers and students voiced their conflicting views about school safety and leadership as the Georgia school district grapples with providing an education during a global pandemic.
During the meeting, some parents underscored the need for in-person learning as they try to maintain full-time jobs, and others asked the district to provide a data-driven agenda for in-person learning as well as mask mandates.
The clapping and sounds of agreement appeared to show that most attendees were in favor of in-school learning over virtual, providing a vivid illustration of how responses to the coronavirus have become divided.