News & Opinion | August 11, 2020 6:00 am

Georgia High School in Viral Photo Closes Due to Coronavirus Cases

From social-media firestorm to social-distancing fail

North Paulding High School
North Paulding High School in Dallas Georgia on August 10, 2020.
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

If you haven’t been following the saga of North Paulding High School in Georgia, you’re missing a narrative with more reversals than most Peak TV series — and the added bonus of being real. The school first entered the news for opting to open its doors in the midst of the pandemic, which led several alarmed students to post photos of crowded hallways in the hopes of raising awareness of a status quo that was far removed from social distancing.

One student, Hannah Watters, was suspended for sharing photos on social media, then had the suspension reversed two days later. Perhaps that was a sign that the issue the students were calling attention to was more serious than it seemed. And now, North Paulding High School is temporarily closed, after three faculty members and six students tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a new article by Rhett Jones at Gizmodo, North Paulding High School Superintendent Brian Otott sent a letter to parents informing them that the school would be closed for cleaning on Monday and Tuesday, and possibly for longer. A decision will be made on Tuesday as to whether or not the closure will continue and whether or not students will be learning remotely for the foreseeable future.

One additional point to worry about: the Gizmodo article also points out that a number of cases are still awaiting results. What does that mean? Well, that total of nine cases might be increasing substantially in the days to come — a worrisome situation for parents, students, educators and public-health professionals alike.

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