Aug 9, 2020 - Health

Georgia high school reports 9 cases of coronavirus after viral photo

Six students and three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at North Paulding High School in Georgia, where a photo showing a hallway packed with maskless students went viral last week, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports.

Why it matters: The infections underscore the difficulty of reopening schools during the pandemic, which will require a rethinking of traditional routines in order to avoid outbreaks. The topic has become politically charged as President Trump pushes for schools to resume in-person classes in order to jump-start the economy.

The state of play: The North Paulding student who took the photo last week was briefly suspended by the school, which said she had violated its policy against filming students and posting to social media without their consent. The suspension was lifted on Friday amid national outcry, according to AJC.

  • The 15-year-old student, Hannah Watters, told the New York Times that she did not regret posting the photo: "My mom has always told me that she won’t get mad at us if we get in trouble as long as it’s ‘good trouble,’" she said, referencing the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis.
  • Paulding County School District superintendent Brian Otott defended the school and claimed the photo was taken out of context, writing in a letter that students were only in the hallways briefly while switching classes. But he acknowledged: "There is no question that the photo does not look good.”

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