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Gwinnett school employees test positive for COVID-19, district confirms

The news comes as students in the district prepare to head back to school Aug. 12 for virtual learning.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The Gwinnett County School District confirms that "some" of its employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, just days out from the first day of school.

The district confirmed the positive cases, but wouldn't share their positions with the district, where they worked or who they may have come into contact with, citing privacy laws. 

A district spokesman said that several employees are quarantining, but added that the majority of those who are "do not have the virus, but came in contact with someone who does."

11Alive asked the district how many of the employees tested positive and were affected by the positive cases, but the district did not respond to the question.

The news comes as students in the district prepare to head back to school Aug. 12 - virtually. After vocal pressure, the Gwinnett County school board voted to begin the fall semester with full digital learning, reversing an earlier decision to offer parents a choice of in-person or virtual learning. The decision came as coronavirus cases statewide, and Gwinnett County, in particular, surged. 

The district said it has measures in place to "respond rapidly" should positive cases arise in either students or staff. 

"We have a robust contact tracing process that follows Gwinnett County Health Department protocols. In addition, each GCPS school has a COVID response team that has been trained on how to address a suspected case or contact to a case," a spokesman for the district said. 

If a teacher or staff member experiences the onset of COVID-related symptoms while at school, the district said protocol calls for them to inform their school administration and leave the building before contacting their health care provider. The employee will not be able to report back to work until they have fulfilled the health and/or quarantine requirements, the district said.

In addition, the district said county nurses are following health department protocols to investigate when a positive case is reported. The school will notify parents if their student needs to quarantine if they came in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. 

Those quarantined could include groups or an entire classroom. The response for each case will be dictated by the nature of that case and the recommendations from the public health department at that time.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.