As Schools Open, Coronavirus Outbreaks Follow

Back to school in Godley, Texas. Photo: LM Otero/AP/Shutterstock/LM Otero/AP/Shutterstock

Earlier this week, a photo of the first day of school at North Paulding High School in Georgia went viral. Shot from above, the picture showed a packed hallway and few students in masks. Hannah Watters, a student who shared a similar photo on the second day of school and was subsequently suspended, told CNN she “was concerned for the safety of everyone in that building and everyone in the county.”

Despite the gobsmacking images from North Paulding, classes are continuing at the 2,000-student high school, which has avoided a major coronavirus outbreak, so far. That may not last forever though. BuzzFeed News reports that several school staff members have tested positive.

Other schools that have started holding in-person classes have fared worse. In several states, positive coronavirus tests have created problems at reopened schools, sending teachers, students, and parents into lockdown. In some cases, they’ve even shut back down. Here’s where things have already gotten bad:


Days after beginning classes on Monday, four different schools in Cherokee County saw positive coronavirus tests. Three different schools had a student test positive, leading to quarantines for classmates who were in close contact. And at one school, a kindergarten teacher tested positive. All of the students in that class have been ordered to quarantine. All told, there are 60 quarantine orders related to coronavirus in the district.


A handful of Indiana schools that have returned to in-person instruction have been disrupted by positive coronavirus tests. At Greenfield Central Junior High School, a student attended the first day of school despite not knowing the results of a previously administered test. After school, the test came back positive. At least six other schools have had students or staff contract COVID-19, with one school reporting four students testing positive in the first week of classes.


The fall semester in Corinth began in late July. In the two weeks since, six students and one staff member have tested positive for the coronavirus. Now, 116 people who were in close contact with those who tested positive have been sent home on a two-week quarantine. The district’s superintendent said in a statement that most of the cases are believed to be a result of community transmission, and not spread within schools.

North Carolina

All fourth-graders at a Thales Academy in Wake Forest are under quarantine after one student tested positive for COVID-19. The student, who was asymptomatic, contracted the virus from a family member. It’s the third positive coronavirus test for a student or staff member at a location of the school, which operates eight private campuses in North Carolina. “I would say, for all intents and purposes, it’s working perfectly at Thales,” school founder Robert Luddy told CBS 17.


Roughly 50 school districts in Tennessee have restarted classes for the fall semester, and the Tennessean reports that two have “already closed schools or altered their schedules as a result of exposures to the virus.” Coffee County schools closed on Wednesday for the rest of the week due to “an abundance of caution over COVID-19,” while Blount County schools switched to a staggered scheduled a week after classes began, due to a positive test.

As Schools Open, Coronavirus Outbreaks Follow