Georgia 2nd grader tests positive on first day of school—whole class quarantined for two weeks
Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay

Yesterday, photos from the first day of school in two different Georgia school districts revealed the startling reality that "safe" school reopenings aren't happening in some areas. Now it's come to light that one of those same school districts had a positive case in an elementary school classroom on the first day of school, proving that opening schools in an uncontrolled pandemic is simply not going to work.

According to WSVN News, a second grader at Sixes Elementary in the Cherokee County School District tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday. On Tuesday, the classroom was closed for cleaning and all 20 students in the class as well as the teacher began a two-week quarantine at home.

Just one day of school, and an entire class has already been shut down for the next two weeks, at least.


Cherokee County School District "encourages" students to wear masks, but does not require it. (It's worth noting that Cherokee County School District has a dress code for students, which says students must cover their shoulders, can't wear pants or skirts with frayed ends or pant legs that touch the floor, and must wear "appropriate undergarments" that no one will ever see—but they won't require students to wear a mask during a pandemic. Seriously.)

Opening schools in an area where the virus is not under control is already a risky undertaking. Opening without very strict protocols in place—a mask mandate being one of the most basic—is simply foolish. The World Health Organization has recommended delaying reopening plans until an area has a lower than 5% positivity rate with coronavirus testing. Currently, Georgia's positivity rate is higher than 12%—nowhere near what they should be in order to even consider reopening.

No one denies that students learning in person is important. No one denies that schools provide a much-needed service for many families. No one denies that there are no easy decisions and that schools and families are largely stuck between a rock and a hard place. But no one can deny that in-person schooling under the circumstances in many areas of the U.S. simply won't work. We have too many cases. We don't have the virus under control enough to do the testing and contact tracing necessary to make school reopenings actually work without constant disruption.

This classroom had to shut down for two weeks after the first day. That will have to happen every time a student or teacher tests positive—imagine the disruption that will cause throughout the school year as the virus continues spreading. If cases were low enough, it could be doable with mitigation measures in place. But at the peak of the outbreak, without stringent safety measures in place? Come on. No one is fooling anyone but themselves.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has encouraged school reopenings if they can be done safely. President Trump tweets in all-caps "OPEN THE SCHOOLS!!!" with no additional direction on how and when and where to do so safely. We know that children can get and spread this disease. We know that schools are petri dishes for the spread of all kinds of viruses. We know that teachers have expressed concern about reopening without clear safety protocols in place.

And we can guess what the outcome will be in these school districts that are allowing students to come to class without masks, gather for school photos without masks or social distancing, and crowd high school hallways as if life goes on as normal. It's not good. Not for Georgia, and not for the U.S. as a whole.

True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

Sir David Attenborough has one of the most recognized and beloved voices in the world. The British broadcaster and nature historian has spent most of his 94 years on Earth educating humanity about the wonders of the natural world, inspiring multiple generations to care about the planet we all call home.

And now, Attenborough has made a new name for himself. Not only has he joined the cool kids on Instagram, he's broken the record for reaching a million followers in the shortest period. It only took four hours and 44 minutes, which is less time than it took Jennifer Aniston, who held the title before him at 5 hours and 16 minutes.

A day later, Attenborough is sitting at a whopping 3.4 million followers. And he only has two Instagram posts so far, both of them videos. But just watch his first one and you'll see why he's attracted so many fans.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

Keep Reading Show less

One night in 2018, Sheila and Steve Albers took their two youngest sons out to dinner. Their 17-year-old son, John, was in a crabby mood—not an uncommon occurrence for the teen who struggled with mental health issues—so he stayed home.

A half hour later, Sheila's started getting text messages that John wasn't safe. He had posted messages with suicidal ideations on social media and his friends had called the police to check on him. The Albers immediately raced home.

When they got there, they were met with a surreal scene. Their minivan was in the neighbor's yard across the street. John had been shot in the driver's seat six times by a police officer who had arrived to check on him. The officer had fired two shots as the teen slowly backed the van out of the garage, then 11 more after the van spun around backward. But all the officers told the Albers was that John had "passed" and had been shot. They wouldn't find out until the next day who had shot and killed him.

Keep Reading Show less