School is back in session in Georgia. Students across the state have returned for in-person classes. After only one day, a second grader at Sixes Elementary School in the Cherokee County school district tested positive for COVID-19. The classroom has been closed for deep cleaning and the 20 other students in the class and the teacher are in quarantine. Cherokee County does not require students to wear masks though they do recommend it. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has not implemented a statewide mandate and has fought mayors’ attempts to put one in place. Cherokee County is not the only district to face COVID-19 concerns in the back to school rush. Gwinnett County Public Schools, the state’s largest district, 260 employees have either tested positive or been exposed to the virus.
This comes as debates rage on about whether students should return to in-person education. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stressed the importance of considering safety in back to school plans. President Trump, on the other hand, has been a vocal advocate for reopening schools to in-person education, tweeting yesterday “OPEN THE SCHOOLS.” Meanwhile, the private school that his youngest son, Barron, attends, St. Andrews Episcopal School in Maryland, announced that it will start the year with virtual classes only.
Blake is a writer focused on non-profits and trade industries. He has told the stories of countless peacebuilders while covering international development with the nonprofit Search for Common Ground. He is a graduate of the George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.