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COVID-19 classroom concerns | Here are answers to your questions

11Alive took your questions and answered some of the concerns that educators, parents and students have about the upcoming school year.

ATLANTA — Several school districts have decided to continue the digital classroom model in the fall, but the majority have either not yet made a decision or are planning to return to face-to-face instruction. This has led to a barrage of questions from parents, teachers, students and faculty members. 

There has been a post circulating online where people have been copying and pasting a list of questions and concerns. Some of the list addresses certain governors directly -- or the U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, saying "We have questions for you."

11Alive took your questions along with the concerns that educators, parents and students have about the upcoming school year. Here's what we found by talking to educators, doctors, and sifting through information provided by health experts.

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What happens if a teacher tests positive for the virus? Would they be required to quarantine for two to three weeks?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, anyone should quarantine for seven to 10 days after testing positive.

Is an infected teacher's sick leave covered and who pays for it?

According to Verdialla Turner, president of the Georgia Federation of Teachers Union, each district should have a policy that addresses sick leave and time off whether the illness is coronavirus or something else. Public health officials said they plan to continue to offer free COVID-19 testing for the foreseeable future. 

And as we know this doesn't fully answer the question about COVID-19 coverage specifically, but we're told, right now there are no updates in policies to account for this pandemic.

What if a  teacher has five classes a day with 30 students each, do all 150 of those students need to then stay home and quarantine for 14 days?

Turner said the school should still follow  CDC guidelines, but it's important to note, many districts are working to create classroom-like bubbles to prevent this type of spread. So far, it's unclear how districts will handle substitute teachers.

What if a student in your child's class tests positive? Will everyone get notified about who was infected and when?  

11Alive Medical Correspondent Dr. Sujatha Reddy said schools will likely handle this the same way they deal with other outbreaks. For example, when it comes to lice, a general letter is issued to parents in a particular class, without revealing a student’s identity.

What happens if there is an outbreak once school starts?

Turner said, again, that is up to the district. Reddy said public health officials could step in if they believe a particular school is not handling an outbreak properly and call for the school to be temporarily closed for cleaning, like in previous cases of a norovirus.


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