Of the districts that have released their data, Fulton County schools reported 6,233 of their students are either quarantining or tested positive, Gwinnett County has 2,337 students and staff in quarantine and Atlanta Public Schools has 2,035 students and staff in quarantine, per WSBTV.
Last week—just one week after classes were back in session—a Tampa school district had 5,599 students isolating in quarantine. The students and 316 staff members all either tested positive for COVID-19 or were exposed to the virus, according to school officials.
FCS Community Update for 08/20/21 In this issue: 08/19 Post-Meeting Update -COVID-19 Update - Learning Supports Dur… https://t.co/bs6QLW90up— FultonCountySchools (@FultonCoSchools) 1629484827.0
Also last week, more than 20,000 public school students in the state of Mississippi were quarantined after COVID exposure. The state health department confirmed that during the first week of school, 4,521 students contracted COVID, and the total number of students who have been infected with the virus since the beginning of August is now nearly 6,000.
Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the Georgia Public Health Commissioner, recommended that schools allowing students exposed to COVID-19 to continue attending school require them to wear masks until they are finished quarantining, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Georgia's governor, Brian Kemp, signed an executive order just last week barring local governments from enacting mask or vaccine mandates for businesses. Georgia currently has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with less than 50 percent of its total population fully vaccinated.
The New York Times COVID tracker reports an uptick of COVID cases in Georgia, with a 71 percent increase in positive cases within the last two weeks.
Rebecca Galanti, the spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Georgia, told NBC News: "As public health officials, parents, and Georgians at large beg Kemp to take action to combat the current COVID-19 surge in our state, the only action he is apparently willing to take is one that will help COVID-19 spread in Georgia and undermine local efforts to control the virus."