Crowded Georgia School Now A Veritable Coronafest
Last week, North Paulding High School in Georgia made the news after several pictures of its crowded hallways went viral. The first thing the school district did in response was to immediately suspend Hannah Watters, the concerned student who posted them. Surely, they imagined that a grateful nation would breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that justice was done and that this whole matter was handled properly, but that is not what happened. Rather, suspending Watters garnered them even more negative attention and they ended up having to un-suspend her to save face.
And that would have been the end of that, had Watters not been absolutely correct about the fact that a bunch of maskless teens in a crowded hallway being an extremely bad idea! Since the picture was posted, nine people at the school have tested positive for COVID-19. Whoops!
Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"At this time, we know there were six students and three staff members who were in school for at least some time last week who have since reported to us that they have tested positive," says a letter from North Paulding High School Principal Gabe Carmona to parents Saturday. A spokesman for the Paulding County School District gave a copy of the letter to the AJC.[...]
The letter to parents does not include information on whether any other students or staff who were exposed have to quarantine or whether any classrooms will be closed. "Our custodial staff continues to thoroughly clean and disinfect the school building daily, and especially affected areas," the letter says.
Angie Franks said both her nephews who attend the school have tested positive for COVID-19. One came home from school Monday unable to smell, she said in an interview with the AJC. His mother took him for testing and the results the next day showed him positive, Franks said. By then, his brother was exhibiting symptoms and was also tested. His positive results were returned Wednesday.
The students are quarantining at home, but both went to school Monday. Franks said the boys' father notified the school on Tuesday and Wednesday after getting their test results.
Wow, it almost seems like this is not working out very well.
"They sat in class all day long with no masks and not social distancing," Franks said. "And I have no idea how many kids they came into contact with."
She said the boys didn't grasp the gravity of the virus and weren't encouraged to wear masks in classrooms or hallways by the school. Paulding County's school system is not mandating masks for students and staff, though it is supplying them for teachers.
So it's probably not gonna be just nine people testing positive. Good to know!
It's understandable to feel like we've gotta send younger kids to school. Parents have to work and childcare is expensive. But high school age kids? We have the technology to allow for remote learning, and it seems like a shame to risk lives by not using it.
Then again, it seems like a whole lot of people are just determined to return to "normal" even if it kills them. Thus the 250,000 people going to Sturgis, South Dakota for a motorcycle convention. Thankfully, you should all be relieved to know that both Willie Nelson and ZZ Top canceled their planned performances there. ZZ Top was replaced by a ZZ Top cover band, and Willie Nelson was replaced by no one because no one can replace Willie Nelson.
A ZZ Top tribute band, called ZZ3, took the stage at the Full Throttle Saloon and filled the room with Texas blues-rock. The rally, which will draw an estimated 250,000 people, always draws big-named performers, so it's no surprise hundreds of folks showed up.
Willie Nelson and Lynyrd Skynard were also scheduled to perform at the 9-day event but canceled because of the pandemic. Other artists who performed Saturday include Molly Hatchet and the Guess Who ... Night Ranger, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, .38 Special, Quiet Riot, Smash Mouth and others are expected to perform in the coming days.
The bar was packed and there was almost no social distancing, and lots of medical folks are worried this will become a super-spreading event. That clearly was not on the minds of the saloon audience.
Admittedly, I decided to include this little excerpt mainly because I refuse to be the only one singing "YOU'RE CORONA-IN!" all day. And with that, this is now your open thread!
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse