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More students positive for COVID-19 at Cherokee County schools, teacher symptomatic

There have been four schools impacted by COVID-19 in Cherokee County since classes began on Monday.

WALESKA, Ga. — For the second straight day, parents of students in the  Cherokee County School District  were informed of students testing positive for COVID-19. Since Monday, four schools in the county have been impacted by the virus.  

A first grade student at Hasty Elementary Fine Arts Academy tested positive for the coronavirus. Due to this exposure, Barbara Jacoby, a district spokesperson, said three students from the child’s classroom, as well as the teacher, and seven students from the after school program must quarantine for two weeks. 

The district said this exposure does not require the closure of the classroom and that arrangements are being made to continue to provide teaching to the students.

An eighth grade student at Dean Rusk Middle School also tested positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing was conducted, the district said, and all affected students’ parents were notified to pick up their children early on Wednesday.

Due to this exposure, 15 students must quarantine for two weeks, however, they said this exposure does not require the closure of any classes or any staff to quarantine.

Lastly, an entire kindergarten class at R.M. Moore Elementary School was sent home Wednesday to quarantine for 14 days after a teacher showed symptoms and was in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Jacoby said the teacher began showing symptoms after school on Monday and did not come to school on Tuesday or Wednesday.

This comes one day after a second grade class at Sixes Elementary School was informed that a student tested positive and would also have to learn virtually for 14 days. 

The district resumed face-to-face classes on Monday. Students are not required to wear masks. 

On Monday afternoon, superintendent Brian Hightower wrote a letter to stakeholders. He mentioned what would happen when the district had positive cases. 

"We know we’re living through a pandemic.  We’re going to take positive cases seriously – we care about our kids and our team of dedicated teachers and staff. And, as we’ve said since we announced our reopening plan, we will shut down classes and/or schools if cases rise and closures are in the best interest of our community," he said. "In addition to the contact tracing process for students and staff who require quarantine, we will notify you of positive cases at your child’s school."

The district also said on their website that students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 "must not return to school until they meet the Department of Public Health’s Return to School Guidance After COVID-19 Illness or Exposure." 

They also said that students and staff should not come to school with a fever of 100.4 or higher, and "must not come to school until they have been fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medication, for at least 24 hours."

As of last Friday, across the county, nine staff members reported positive cases. One at Ball Ground ES STEM Academy, one at Creekland Middle, two at Creekview High, one at Indian Knoll Elementary, one at Mill Creek Middle, and one at Woodstock Elementary. The district said this report is updated once a week.

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