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Georgia has aggressively tried to open schools — but new signs show it's not going well

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, image via Wikimedia Commons.

President Donald Trump has been aggressively calling for public schools to reopen in the fall or late summer, and in Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has been joining him in that position. But the school district in Cherokee County, which is in the northern part of Georgia, has asked hundreds of students to quarantine because of possible COVID-19 exposure — and that order, according to Newsweek’s Katherine Fung, came only six days after Cherokee County schools reopened.

Fung reports that in addition to ordering 826 students to quarantine, the Cherokee County School District has ordered 42 teachers to do the same. Cherokee County schools reportedly reopened without a mask mandate for students, although staff have been required to wear masks on school grounds.

In a letter to Cherokee County parents on Friday, Superintendent Brian Hightower explained: “As we said before reopening, social distancing is not possible in all situations at our schools; this is why we require our staff to wear masks or face shields when they cannot distance, and this is why we’re providing masks to students and strongly recommending they wear them. This is a critical component to keeping schools open. Parents need to continue to keep their children home when they're sick.”

Barbara Jacoby, chief communications officer for the Cherokee County School District, told Newsweek: “We are not hesitating to quarantine students and staff who have had possible exposure — even if the positive test was prompted by possible exposure rather than symptoms, as all positive cases can lead to the infection of others.”

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