There’s an outbreak at a reopened Georgia school where a photo went viral

On the heels of reports that a Georgia YMCA camp had 260 people test positive for COVID-19, we’re hearing about a high school in Paulding County, also Georgia, reopening for in person instruction. As their own football team dealt with an outbreak from working out together before the school year began, North Paulding High School opened as planned. The header photo is what that looked like. The image is incredibly disturbing. Kids are pressed up against each other, no social distancing even possible, and as far as I am able to count, there are only six and a half masks in the whole photo (the half is one in the distance that I can’t tell if it’s a mask or just a really pale kid). When you factor in that Georgia, like California, had a spike in cases since attempting to reopen the state in general, the photo takes on an ominous “lambs to the slaughter” feel to it. Unfortunately, that feeling is not just photo assumption. The conditions under which these kids are returning to school are worse than we thought. Even with fear and trepidation among the student body, they will face disciplinary measures that could be as severe as expulsion for refusing to attend school in person or even talking about it on social media.

North Paulding High School, about an hour outside Atlanta, reopened Monday despite an outbreak among members of its high school football team, many of whom, a Facebook video shows, worked out together in a crowded indoor gym last week as part of a weightlifting fundraiser.

Despite recommendations from CDC health officials, the district has called mask-wearing a “personal choice” and said that social distancing “will not be possible to enforce” in “most cases.” While the school provided teachers with face shields and masks and encouraged staff and students to wear them, they are not required and not all teachers have chosen to use them. One North Paulding teacher resigned last month over concerns about virus safety.

Some students at North Paulding say they were forced to attend school in person because all of the slots for the district’s virtual learning option were filled. A narrow sign-up window for virtual classes meant many parents missed their opportunity to enroll their children online.

It was a photo of one of those hallways, crammed with largely maskless students and with just a handful of masks in sight, that spread across the internet Tuesday.

The district superintendent, Brian Otott, sent a message to parents in the wake of the photo. He offered “context” for the photograph: “Class changes that look like this may happen, especially at a high school with more than 2,000 students.” There was little the district could do, he said, beyond encouraging masks.

James’ parents saw the photograph that had been circulating Tuesday and told him, “You are not going back to school again,” he said. But a few hours later, his mother had spoken to the school and was told that students who “chose not to go to school” could face suspension or expulsion.

On Wednesday, he went back to school. “I had no choice,” he said.

On Wednesday, the school addressed the controversy that had swirled around the viral photograph via an intercom announcement from North Paulding High School principal Gabe Carmona. In it, according to two people familiar with the situation, he stated that any student found criticizing the school on social media could face disciplinary consequences.

[From Buzzfeed News]

The article explained there was a plan in place that called for one-way foot traffic flows in the separate hallways. However, due to the circuitous routes it forced students to take to class, in some cases making them tardy, it was quickly abandoned, as you can see in the photo above. Not everyone is worried, one grandmother is quoted as saying she has faith in Gov Kemp (which, quite frankly, is her first mistake). Another student quoted said he only knows three kids – other than the football team – that have COVID and he and his friends figure, “if we get it, we get it.” I am astonished at the willful ignorance that pervades these stories. Just because Bobby had a mild case and survived with only a few lingering breathing issues is no guarantee that’s how the virus will manifest in Johnny. Johnny could very well have health issues for the rest of his life, *if* he survives.

The private sector isn’t faring any better. The Mummy and The Swamp Creature, or, as some call them, Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos, popped round to a few private schools that I’m sure meet all their indoctrination requirements for education. While there, they praised the schools for reopening successfully. Only they didn’t reopen successfully. One of those schools had to quarantine the entire fourth grade class, including the teachers, due to COVID-19. And the reason the fourth grade got taken out was some poor kid was asymptomatic who passed the hourly temperature checks, so there was no way short of a test to find out they were infecting the entire class.

And that’s the crux of it. It’s not that there aren’t plans in place for schools to reopen. I’m sure many of those plans are even well-thought out and researched. But they aren’t working. Either they are being abandoned or there are conditions they haven’t considered. Because we don’t understand this virus in all of its complexities. I don’t think politicians want our kids to die (although, I have some questions about DeVos’s wishes) but I do think they are taking too big a gamble when they are woefully ill-prepared. All we know for sure is that right now, the virus is winning.

Photo credit: Twitter

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92 Responses to “There’s an outbreak at a reopened Georgia school where a photo went viral”

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  1. Ms. says:

    And the students who shared the photo got suspended because we definitely don’t want kids having a voice. Awesome, we’ve discouraged them from saying they don’t feel safe. Great message.

    • Lisa says:

      “From the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen…” Cat Stevens

    • Sarah says:

      I was going to add that I read she was given a five day suspension. Although there were pics from another (unidentified) kid out there too. Good grief this is horrible.

    • Lua says:

      Click the Twitter pic and read all the stuff he’s posting from students and staff! Crazy! He has audio of them being threatened. I smell law suits…

      • Agirlandherdog says:

        Big time lawsuits. If I had a kid I was forced to send to school, I’d tell him/her/them to flood social media with pics. Then I’d tell the principal to come at me.

        I know a lot of parents are struggling with what to do, and many don’t know what legal options they might have or might not be able to afford a lawyer. Which means they feel forced to send their kids into an unsafe environment. It’s like the freaking Hunger Games.

    • NatureLover says:

      It was one student who posted the photo who was suspended, Hannah Watters. I read her story in my news app. She violated one rule of conduct sharing a picture of the students, which she posted online after school. The school and the district claim that she violated 3 codes of ethics but since she is an upperclassman, she is within the codes. What sickens me is that the school and district are playing fire with the health of the students as they are allowing masks to be a personal choice and state that the picture does not depict what the school and district is doing. Their comment is regards to the picture was that they are a work in progress to effectively run the school with students and it will take time. What type of BS excuse is that as you allow students to become infected and infect others? A high school athlete died last week at 17 yo and in perfect health!

    • Golly Gee says:

      Troops being dispatched around the country to shutdown protests, freedom of speech being stifled through threats and punishment. The USA has become a dictatorship. All that’s needed now to solidify this transformation is for Trump to “win” the election again.

    • maisie says:

      What did anyone expect from Georgia, or for that matter, any Trump-loving state in the south or the midwest? The GOP has consistently shot down all gun control legislation even after high schoolers and kindergarteners were mowed down with AK-47s, so you think they’re going to care about some “little ole hoax virus that’s gonna disappear soon anyway – Dear Leader said so!” infecting their students? What I don’t understand is the parents of these kids – haven’t any of them heard of LAWYERS? Online instruction or not, no parent should have capitulated to the fascist – YES REALLY FASCIST – “rules” of this damn school, which only serve to put all these kids in danger. I thought all these hick states were totally into “Christian” home-schooling, too. What happened to that? I know this asshole school system and their principals just want to look like good little Republican Trump-loving drones, but do the PARENTS of these kids also want that at the expense of their children’s safety? Do they know that kids under 20 usually get horrible vascular diseases from COVID-19? Do they know that even if someone survives COVID-19, there’s an excellent chance they’ll be debilitated for life? And people who recover from it only carry the antibodies for it for a few months afterward, then they disappear, and the survivors are more likely to die if they get it again?

      There MUST be a way to combat this kind of wholesale, determined, willful stupidity and ignorance. Those poor kids.

  2. Izzy says:

    It really does seem like some of the elected leaders in this country are trying to use the pandemic to cull the population.

    • MaryContrary says:

      Yep: the right wing is trying to get rid of the really old people who are a drag on the economy and our healthcare system, and minorities.

    • TadBit says:

      Not a paranoid conspiracy theorist here—-but it does appear culling of the population. If wealthy whites were dying the rate of low income Blacks—-would we have the same federal response???

      • SofiasSideEye says:

        There would’ve been a compulsory lock down at a federal level. It’d be well in hand by now.

        There’s an article in Vanity Fair about Jared Kushner and the COVID-19 task force. There was a plan being put in place for testing, they even purchased 2 million tests, which was scrapped when they saw the virus was affecting mostly Dem run states, and people of color. It’s chilling to read that they slowed testing because it would be “politically advantageous.”

      • Candikat says:

        I like to think I’m not a conspiracist either, but in my darker moments I start to believe that the “hoax” meme itself is a deliberate hoax. Like: the pandemic starts, whether naturally or contrived, the Trump admin lets it run bc it’s “only” affecting the coasts, then it starts to subside. So then they ramp up the “liberal hoax” fervor so it will spread across the purple and red states, giving them a reason and sufficient support to declare martial law in October and suspend the election. Our borders have already been locked down, we literally can’t leave the country. It’s … ominous.

      • Veronica says:

        No conspiracy needed. This one’s pretty blatantly the weaponization of a social health crisis against its most vulnerable, the poor and minorities (who are vulnerable because they are disproportionately impoverished), and the subsequent use of the economic fallout as a political battering ram. (Republicans walked away from these stimulus talks for a reason. They know exactly what they’re doing.) You don’t need an army to commit genocide. Apathy and systemic oppression have been America’s weapons for a long time. A lot of Americans just assumed they were well out of the firing line and are shocked to realize they weren’t.

  3. HEMP says:

    That school district will enforce a dress code mainly focused on female bodies, but then act like mandatory masks are too much.

    • liz says:

      The Superintendent has already said “masks are a personal choice, they can’t be enforced.” But yes, in many public schools, girls wearing spaghetti straps are sent home and Black kids aren’t allowed to wear their natural hair. I call BS.

    • Joanna says:

      Omg excellent point

    • TeamAwesome says:

      Absolutely this. I’ve taught high school. If you can enforce hair length and color, earrings, no visible bra straps and shorts length, you can enforce an f-ing mask mandate. And the kids were tardy so we just go however we want? That means you had a shitty, ill thought out plan in the first place.

  4. Who ARE these people? says:

    A public institution suspending young people for exposing dangerous realities = authoritarian behavior.

  5. Watson says:

    At least give kids the option of staying home, and having virtual classes to reduce foot traffic. Suspending the student who took the photograph is the icing on the cake. Clearly the admin were afraid of being transparent and having any accountability to these abysmal plans. Who are the adults in the room again?

    Makes my stomach churn. Like lambs to slaughter indeed…

    • chicken tetrazzini! says:

      From what I read there was a tiny window to sign up for virtual schooling and it filled up very quickly. I think I would pull my kids and figure out a way to homeschool them with a likeminded families creating a learning pod.

      • mags13 says:

        this is what i do not understand though. our school district is offering digital learning instruction that the state has in place. i don’t think it “filled up” because it’s still an option for my kids if we decide we do not like them going to school in person. so how is it possible some kids in Georgia can do the state digital learning program, but not all? it just seems like some of the quotes are giving an incomplete picture of the choices parents have.

      • Esmom says:

        Right, mags13. Our high school district has virtual learning open to all. Seems like they are trying to make it as hard as possible for these kids to learn from home and it’s really baffling.

      • Agirlandherdog says:

        Many schools are probably limited by technology. In order to have virtual classes, they have to have the digital infrastructure in place for students to log on. Their current tech doesn’t support that many people logging on. It’s a problem for a lot of employers now too. My husband’s former employer had to switch to round the clock shifts because their tech couldn’t support everyone logging on during normal business hours.

      • Kate says:

        @mags13 – our district made a chart of our options and if we chose the virtual school option which is not affiliated with or operated by our district, it would be an additional $3k per student paid by the district. I suspect some districts can’t/won’t pay for that many students to attend the virtual schools operated by private companies.

    • Esmom says:

      Sounds like they didn’t have many virtual slots for whatever weird reason. But another thing jumped out at me — the school said some halls were crowded during passing periods because students found taking a more circuitous route to class would make them tardy. Well then HOW ABOUT MAKING PASSING PERIODS LONGER as a safety measure? Or not penalizing a student for being tardy? How f-ing dumb are these people?

      • Kebbie says:

        Or stagger who moves and when. Or rotate teachers instead of students. Anything to limit exposure to such a large number of people in close quarters. They put stickers on the floor and called it a day.

    • Minal says:

      It CAN be done. Look to Singapore, Taiwan, etc. where children are back to school. You just need better planning and strict adherence to rules.

  6. Gil says:

    In China people got arrested for “spreading misinformation”, in America kids get suspended for complaining about the school management. Just saying

    • Tim Peterson says:

      In the USA if you spread misinformation, you get elected President

    • Agirlandherdog says:

      I see your point, but to be fair, in China, people also get arrested for spreading true information, if such information paints the government in a bad light.

      • SofiasSideEye says:

        I think “spreading misinformation,” is in quotes because it actually is meant to say spreading the truth in China.

  7. Tammy says:

    At least that kid is safe for a few days while he is suspended.

  8. BlueSky says:

    One thing I learned from Sandy Hook is that the government doesn’t GAF about kids so of course they are going to do this. What is it going to take? Several kids gettin sick and/or dying for them to realize this is a bad idea. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

  9. Darla says:

    I’m shocked schools are opening in states that don’t have this under control. I don’t even know if we will pull this off in NY and our numbers are and have been, good. This is crazy.

    • Annabel says:

      I agree, it’s shocking. I’m not sending my kid back to school in NYC next month, because our numbers are only good by the depraved standards of American coronavirus numbers. There are 300 new cases in NYC every single day.

    • Esmom says:

      My friend’s daughter is at U of Georgia and she is on pins and needles wondering what they are going to do. Apparently next week they may decide to not have students on campus at all. Seems like the best choice for GA, and one of the more sensible ones.

      • bobslaw says:

        I live in Ontario and am baffled that people here, where there are fewer than 100 cases a day, are going back to school in-person. Just about every University (all of which are public) are hosting classes online. What is happening in America is absolutely horrifying.

      • Millie says:

        Boblaw, no need to be baffled by the full-time return to class. A ton of parents signed a petition demanding a full-time return so that’s what Ford is giving them. He wants to get reelected. I’d be interested to know how many of those signees are actually sending their kids back given the conditions for reopening don’t take all the recommendations from Sick Kids into account. Mine sure as hell aren’t going back.

  10. SJR says:

    Seeing that photo of kids….makes my stomach turn, really people. Willing to risk your kids life.
    Good for the kids who stood up for themselves.

    • ME says:

      Are these teens old enough to decide to be home schooled or is that up to their parents? That pic is insane and those teens who spoke up should be proud of themselves. I can’t believe they got suspended ! Our world is such a f*cked up place. Stupidity is running rampant !

      • Rose says:

        If they are still minors then their parents have to make the choice. They don’t get a say.

    • North of Boston says:

      It’s tragic that school officials and parents are willing to risk their kids lives … for what, exactly? The fantasy that everything is normal right now?

      It’s also tragic that school officials and parents are willing to risk their kids long term health. The more medical experts learn about COVID-19, the scarier it is. Healthy young people who get the virus are sometimes ‘recovering’ but wind up with serious health issues, even those who didn’t have any bad symptoms while they were sick. Look at the professional athletes who have tested positive and then found to have serious heart issues, for example the Red Sox pitcher who was scheduled to pitch the opening game is now out … for the entire season … because of COVID-19 related heart problems – myocarditis. And those kinds of complications aren’t unheard of in non-athletes:

      “Jonathan Kim, a sports cardiologist at Emory University, called a recent study out of Germany published in the Journal of the American Medical Association particularly concerning. Researchers gave 100 patients who had recovered from covid-19, two-thirds of whom had suffered mild or no symptoms, cardiac MRI exams. The tests showed 78 percent had some kind of cardiac abnormality, and 60 percent showed inflammation consistent with myocarditis.

      The study was composed of middle-aged people, and Emery said he would expect athletes as a group to fare better. But the results — that people with mild symptoms could suffer heart complications as a result of covid-19 — still startled him and his colleagues.”

      Do all these grown ups just not care at all if one of the kids at this school gets COVID and dies?
      Do all these grown ups just not care at all if one of the kids gets COVID and winds up with a lifelong medical issue that severely disables them?
      Do all of these grown ups think it’s just fine to let teens swarm the halls like that, with the maskless ripping the masks off of others with no consequences? (And BTW, gee, I wonder where they learned that behavior … Mom? Dad?)

      I just. Don’t. Get It.

  11. Lightpurple says:

    I have little cousins in Georgia and Arizona who went back to school this week. So worried for them.

  12. Aang says:

    If the school won’t provide remote learning to everyone they can choose to withdraw and register as home schoolers. High schoolers can take online classes at community colleges. They fill the state requirements for high school curriculum and have the added bonus of awarding transferable credits. Those photos are horrible and I wouldn’t let my kids anywhere near that school.

  13. Indywom says:

    I think anyone holding in person classes is beyond stupid. And I have to wonder about parents who are okay with their kids in schools after seeing that photo. So if I am a high school teacher, does it mean that if a student in my class is diagnosed With COVID , do I have to quarantine along with all members of my families? Do all the kids have to quarantine along with all the members of their families? Does my spouse who has been exposed to me also have to quarantine too? And what about all the people he or she works with? In a high school, that would lead to multiple teachers having to quarantine. What if the kid With COVID 19 eats lunch in the cafeteria? Does everyone Who sits at the same table have to quarantine? Do all the kids exposed to the kid during class change now have to quarantine? You get the point. It is an unnecessary disaster. I am glad that my school district is holding virtual classes for the first quarter.

    • lanne says:

      I’m a private school teacher at a prestigious prep school in Atlanta. We’re back at school because the presidents of all of the schools are playing a big game of chicken to see who will close first. Right now, when we open next week, it will be with half the kids at a time on different days. I don’t have the space to properly social distance in my classroom. They spent all this money on plexiglass and owl cameras so we can teach remote/in person at the same time (meaning we basically have to treat all kids as if they are remote or risk complete chaos). All the teachers are angry and afraid, but we have no unions. Yes to all of your questions. I’m risking my health so that some rich MAGA parent can get their kid out of the house.

      • Lindy says:

        Lanne, I’m originally from Georgia and attended a prestigious private school. My stepdad is currently the director of operations at one, not in Atlanta but another Georgia city. It’s like that all over the state with private schools. Athens, Savannah, Augusta as well. I don’t understand it. My stepdad said the headmaster did a survey and over 80% of parents want their kids back in school, so they reopened.

        It’s unfathomably stupid and it does feel like a game of chicken.

    • Nicole says:

      I agree with most of this, but what are working parents supposed to do? I can’t afford to quit my job and I can’t afford a pod. So I have no other choice but to send mine back. And I know I’m not the only one being put in this position. I’m just as afraid as teachers, nor do I want to have them exposed, but if someone can tell me how to continue work and homeschool my first grader so that he stays caught up, I’d be glad to hear it.

      • lanne says:

        The problem is that there are no good answers. It’s just a matter of making the best of bad choices. Yes, your child may get behind if schools close, but so will everyone’s kid. Maybe we’ll end up doing a year of extra school when this all ends. But I hope you realize you may not be given a choice in terms of remote school. A big outbreak in your area, or even in your child’s class, means everyone is sent home, and you’ll be scrambling then. If I was a parent of a school aged kid, I would be making contingency plans in the likely eventuality that schools close. The disappointing thing is that you could have used the summer to come up with a viable plan if you knew then what was coming, but now you’ll be scrambling just like you did last March. Your first grader might end up watching a series of youtube videos, learning about cooking, nature, a new hobby if he doesn’t have adequete remote school. It’s not ideal, but ideal isn’t possible right now. This is a historic event that will color everyone’s lives, just as the Great Depression and WW2 did. We’ll all have our stories to tell from this time, but it means nothing if we don’t survive it.

      • Nicole says:

        What exactly would be my viable plan? I’m fine if we had to repeat grades, but our government is forcing us to make a choice. I have saved up vacation and sick in the event that we are forced to be home for an extended amount of time, but what other options do I have? Please tell me, because I’m desperate to protect my kids. Unless the government is giving hand outs and bailouts to the working class, I’m stuck between a rock and hard place. My kid loses his home, stability, security, and his food or he goes back and we risk our lives.

        In the event of school closure all together, my employer, or my husband’s, would be required to make concessions for the working family. We saw this during the shelter in place orders during March. With the option on the table, our workplaces are expecting us to report for work as normal.

      • jessamine says:

        My SO is a school custodian (middle school) and despite the elaborate protocols the school is enacting to ensure student/staff safety (half the students at a time, directional arrows, socially distances desks, lunch in classroom, sanitation procedures, etc) there is really no chance there isn’t going to be an outbreak because KIDS. I mean, to be clear, my SO’s not a teacher and there’s no contract or union protection so if the school isn’t open we are out our majority income source. HOWEVER, resuming in-person instruction this way is creating the worst possible health outcome for everyone: if kids are only in school 2 days a week, how are parents supposed to go back to work? And by having them in school any days at all you are creating the chance of transmission between students, teachers, staff, and their families.

      • Lindy says:

        Nicole, I feel you. My husband and I both work, luckily from home right now, but we have a 2yo and 11yo. Needless to say, you can’t watch the toddler and get any work done at all. At all. There really is no good answer. What I would like to see happen is the government paying working parents to stay home with their kids, and employers being required to give employees either a leave of absence (with their job waiting when they can return safely) or the option to work from home if possible. And for jobs where parents have to work outside the home, a childcare subsidy to help you pay for a safe babysitter or a daycare that will also support kids with online learning, plus a reduced/flexible work schedule.

        But we live in a capitalist libertarian nightmare hellscape of a country so that’ll never happen.

        I think realistically, we should have very limited in person availability for parents who absolutely must have school open. We set up a rubric with a list of qualifiers (are you a single parent working outside the home, is your child special needs and needs to be in school to receive services, are you a health care worker, etc.) And then open up with 4-8 students per class. Give the in person teachers hazard pay and extra paid sick leave.

      • lanne says:

        Nicole, I wish I had a viable choice to give you. What we all have to accept is that no viable option exists, and yet we still have to function. I understand your concerns and I share them. I’m just saying, don’t count on schools being open. If your child’s teacher, or another child, gets COVID, you will have to quarantine. This is not a binary choice of school/no school. It’s a gamble on remote school or massive outbreaks. What if your child catches COVID and gives it to you? You have to be prepared for that scenario as well. I fear that some parents are thinking, “schools are open in my area so I’m set.” You are NOT set. Any day now, your school can close, or you can get sick. What happens to your child if you or your partner is incapacitated by COVID? These are contingencies we all have to face because they exist. I personally think life and health outweigh everything else, so let’s lower the risk for everyone. Schools are superspreader central because kids are kids. We plan for contingencies all the time as part of life. Health insurance, life insurance, retirement plans. So why, in a pandemic, do we think we can just “hope for the best,”. Which is what opening schools amounts to? I’m not blaming you for wanting schools open. But what will you do if they don’t stay that way? I hope youre making plans, as we all must.

      • Watson says:

        I have no answers. But as a fellow parent i am sending you support. It’s a tough time.

      • Becks says:

        I’m sorry but school is not child care. We are here to teach, not babysit. If you have to both work, why not hire a sitter for your children? That is what many working parents are doing, because really, what choice do they have?! It’s a terrible situation for everyone, I wish I could be back in my classroom, but everyone’s health and safety should be the priority.

      • Pusspants says:

        @ Nicole Just want to say that I’m very sorry you are in that situation. It sounds awful and I feel for you! The choices many of us have during this pandemic are all bad and it feels like living in a nightmare.

      • Rose says:

        Well, since you’ve just told high risk staff like me that we have to put our lives on the line so that someone can watch your kids—you do realize that once the teachers have to quarantine, get sick or die they’ll have to go back to virtual learning, right? Often with less than twelve hours notice…

        We always had a hard time getting subs anyway; my school had a pool of around 350 available to call. This year so far? 45. All of our duty volunteers have vanished. It’s just a matter of time until we will have to shut down.

    • goofpuff says:

      What some families are doing is banding together to form a social bubble. You hire a nanny/tutor for the children and learning is shared. If you can afford it, some just hire a tutor directly for their own kids for school time.

      Considering its the same amount of money I would have to spend for daycare anyway, its been budgeted. I have elementary age kids. I’d use the money you budgeted to daycare for your 1st grader when they couldn’t go to school yet and put that toward a nanny/tutor.

  14. Kkat says:

    Once again I’m so glad I’m in California and very grateful we have the governor we do.

    • Leah says:

      This so much. Newsom knew what was coming and I think by closing the public schools and the CSU’s/UC’s he made the right choice. The university nearest to me has been shuttered since March and there is a plus to that, less traffic and noise for us residents who live here year round.

    • Becks says:

      So grateful to live in California. I am a teacher and I am relieved that Newsom closed down all schools. It is so nice to have a governor who makes decisions based on science and data!

    • emu says:

      In Colorado – same. I love that our gov Polis said “So if you’re a selfish bastard and wearing a mask to protect others isn’t enough of reason to do so, then maybe protecting yourself is?”

  15. Grace says:

    First, Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia, is “anti-mask” and is suing the mayor of Atlanta for her mask mandates. Second, I am a teacher, and my FATE is being decided next week. I teach adults, who are at higher risk for COVID, and will probably be sent back to the classroom in September. They, the administration and decision-makers, are using teachers as the canaries in the coal mine. I am absolutely terrified. We don’t have a union and were not invited into the conversation until raising hell. Sometimes I really HATE the United States government.

    • lanne says:

      I’m in GA too, and Kemp is just angry that an uppity black woman tried to tell him what to do. His anti mask stance is completely illogical. Politicizing the Covid virus is the infamy of the Republican party. I’m scared for the catastrophe that’s coming.

  16. JHo says:

    This is my backyard and I assure you it’s worse than what is being nationally reported. Paulding BOE’s meetings are on YouTube. This is political and all in support of Trump and Kemp. An interesting fact about GA, you are free to move your child between districts with few stipulations. I just did it for my middle schoolers. I really hope parents leave Paulding en masse and the BOE is held responsible for their reckless actions hinged solely upon their daddy issues and need to please Kemp.

    • ATLMathMom says:

      Given that it’s Paulding county, I would bet that most parents and their high schoolers support the decisions of the BOE.

  17. Ariel says:

    Assuming we are able to save democracy, i feel like this generation Z, is going to set our world on fire, in a good way, stamping out those mostly GOP politicians that refused to protect them from gun violence, and now refuses to protect them from a potentially deadly virus.
    Read last night that trump will send fed troops to help suppress voting on election day.
    Real dictator shit. And GOPers laugh that it won’t happen- and i cant tell if they are delusional, or just lying, thrilled that people who aren’t like them and don’t share their idea of a good world (hypocritical christianity, white supremacy, etc) won’t be allowed to vote.
    They have no idea that their futures, unless they are super rich, are to be destroyed by trump too. No economy for the middle class- oh well, at least they’ll still have white supremacy and be able to shame women over one sided “morality”.

    More than ever thrilled i never brought kids into this world.

  18. Marigold says:

    A pro bono civil liberties lawyer needs to take up their cause. They are willfully hurting those kids.

  19. Lindy says:

    I’m in Austin and our school board met last night for 8 hours to try to figure out wtf to do. The teacher’s union was making some demands (all entirely reasonable). Now we’re moving the school year start date to September 8th, with 4 weeks of online learning. The board and union want 8 but the Texas state government has basically said they refuse to fund schools beyond 4 weeks of remote learning. They would have to be in person after that to get funding.

    The governor and his minions in the state education agency refuse to acknowledge that plans mat need to be flexible. They keep saying that the economy must reopen fully.

    It’s insane. And the most insane thing of all is the number of parents who are mad about school not reopening. They should get mad at the right people!! I want my kids back in school and daycare as well. But not if it means catching Covid.

    • Leah says:

      Texas burning with covid and this is all they could come up with? They should be ashamed of themselves. I think the problem stems from the fact that they refuse to believe that kids get this virus, and they refuse to believe that they can pass it on to the most vulnerable folks in the community. Children have died from it, babies have been born with it and have died so they aren’t immune.

    • MerlinsMom1018 says:

      @ Lindy
      Two of my granddaughters will be remote learning at the start. The oldest (16) chose to remote learn and the youngest (14 and an incoming freshman who REALLY wanted to go) had her decision made by my daughter. That’s the plan for at LEAST the first grading period. They are both fortunate to be able to do so. After that, who knows? I don’t even want to think about it
      It’s pathetic how far abbott has his head up trumps ass. He also, as I am sure you are well aware, being in Austin, has been blaming everyone but himself for the catastrophe that our state has become.

  20. Jay says:

    I am struggling with the idea of whether or not and how to go back (I’m a teacher, and I have a three year old who has been talking about kindergarten all year) and Toronto has nowhere near the cases of Georgia.

    As a parent, I’d be so proud if my teen posted this and advocated for themselves – it’s worth a suspension! Also, there’s no better way to illustrate the power they have than to show how much their voices scare those in power.

  21. JRenee says:

    Suspension for sharing the truth about an I’ll planned system run by a governor content with politicizing a pandemic, absolutely horrible!

  22. Amanda Bennett says:

    Schools can enforce dress codes on girls all day every day. God forbid a tank top with a thin strap be worn on a hot day. But you schools can’t enforce the wearing of masks? That’s idiotic and patently incorrect.

  23. MellyMel says:

    My parents live in that county…and none of this is surprising based off the politics the majority of ppl in that area have.

  24. Jaded says:

    Politicizing the health of kids…that’s a new low. Mr. Jaded’s daughter is vice-principle of the lower school (grades K-8) at a private school, and although kids are going back to the classroom next month there is a strict protocol for moving around the school, how many kids can be in a classroom, mandatory temperature checks, a much reduced cafeteria staff and types of meals available, and the option of continued virtual learning. The first week back will be mostly training so the kids get it into their heads how to stay safe.

    Georgia…this is how it’s done.

  25. adastraperaspera says:

    The “if we get it we get it whatever” attitude is prevalent in my bio family who live in the Midwest. It’s also rife here in Tennessee where the governor won’t even put in a statewide mask mandate. It’s basically child abuse.

  26. Birdy2 says:

    What i don’t understand in this is that for parents of kids over the need childcare stage especially, there are plenty of options for online accredited institutions for middle/high school and transfer your tax dollars to them from your non-performing local school. Win/win. Exists for the youngers too understand childcare w work at home can be tough, but same online solutions available.

  27. Kate says:

    Fellow Georgia educator here…this is bad, folks. This is really, really bad. Lack of common sense plus disregard for safety and health of others plus politics PLUS parents who are sick of their own children – the decimation is only just beginning. I’m terrified.

  28. Emily says:

    I’m sad to say I’m not surprised to see this happening at all. I had a feeling when GA and a bunch of other southern states like Florida and the rest tried reopening back in May/June, that things would all go sideways at the beginning of the school year. School districts would not try to truly solve things over the summer, thinking things would be back to normal by September. And then nobody properly social distanced over the summer, thinking life could go back to normal. Now cases are at an all time high and everyone is basically just trying to save face by sending their kids back to school to pretend like their stupid reopening plans worked.

    In a few weeks, we are going to hear about COVID cases sweeping schools all over the south, hospitals will be over-run, and teachers will have to scramble to go back to remote learning. None of these hybrid-learning plans (students at school during half the week, remote during the second half) are going to work. Being inside for any length of time over 15 minutes guarantees the virus spreading like wildfire, despite any sanitizing/cleaning/social distancing precautions indoors (and most schools aren’t bothering with that). Especially if no one is wearing “optional” masks or face shields. And then there will be articles from parents or students saying “We just wanted to go back to normal, we had no idea this was going to happen” in the media like idiots, as if everything that happened since March was just one huge hoax.

    For anyone with kids over the age of 10, they are basically self-sufficient and don’t need constant supervision. And there are plenty of online learning options for kids at that age. If you aren’t satisfied with the online learning provided for older students by your school district, there must surely be accredited middle/high school programs online? But for working parents with babies/toddlers/young kids, that’s really hard and there are no easy answers. You can’t work full-time and watch a small child. They take every single ounce of your energy. I feel for all parents having to send their kids to school because of this in the south. It must feel like sending your kids to the slaughter.

  29. Birdy2 says:

    BTW learned this after yrs of bullying that local school supported, then ultimately a federal legal issue as she wasn’t allowed to use restroom as needed due to medical issue. Mercilessly bullied in Seattle because of this and ended up being better off schooled at home and tax dollars going elsewhere. She’s extemely bright & curoius and probably did much better w/o the social stuff as they were so mean to her over a medical condition. She’s petite, bright funny, pretty, stylish, just had sone naysayers due to medical issues.

  30. holly hobby says:

    I hope those parents sue them to the ground. They cannot ban photos. That’s protected under the First Amendment. I’m sure some attorneys can work pro bono to prove that point.

  31. Kim says:

    That picture of the crowded hallway is just sickening. I saw it earlier this morning, and as a teacher, it caused great anxiety to what students and staff are being forced into. It’s gross. I don’t think any adult would feel comfortable in that situation.

  32. emu says:

    So ridiculous that they said there is nothing they can do. If one-way routes made the kids “late”, make the class start later! Time the changes differently. Make the teachers go to the different classrooms instead of the kids. Make masks mandatory. This is the kind of willful ignorance and resistance that causes the U.S. to be FIRST in cases, meaning LAST… and will prevent the re-opening of our economy. Like, just wear the effing masks and then your precious economy can re-open! GAH!

  33. Laura says:

    Suspension was just lifted.

  34. L4frimaire says:

    This is a disaster and can be laid directly at the feet of their ignorant governor Brian Kemp. He absolutely refuses to acknowledge the seriousness of Covid and wants to get in fights with the Atlanta mayor about wearing masks. As for the school not mandating masks, they’ll suspend and shame girls for wearing leggings or send home kids who wear BLM t-shirts, but they can’t mandate masks? This is using kids as guinea pigs and is irresponsible and insane.

  35. You Must Be Joking says:

    Exspelling or suspending a kid from school for not going to school. OK.

  36. Trashaddict says:

    In the words of Jim Nabors, “surprise, surprise, surprise”!
    So what about the right of parents to educate their child as they see fit?
    Does that just extend to republican parents? Are you out there, Betsy D?
    And if the kids’ parents are forcing them to go when they think they are in danger – do I hear class action lawsuit? Can teachers file child protective services complaints for willful endangerment?