Paulding confirms COVID-19 case on first day at elementary school

A child at Shelton Elementary fell ill on Monday and later tested positive for COVID-19, leading Paulding to tell some students in the class to stay home Tuesday.

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A child at Shelton Elementary fell ill on Monday and later tested positive for COVID-19, leading Paulding to tell some students in the class to stay home Tuesday.

As in Cherokee, student was taken for rapid test after school and received positive result

Schools opening for face-to-face classes expected there would be COVID-19 exposures, but may not have expected them on the first day of school. That is the case in two metro Atlanta districts that opened this week for in-person classes, Cherokee and Paulding counties.

In Cherokee County, a second grade classroom and teacher from Sixes Elementary in Canton are now at home under quarantine after an exposure on Monday. Now, nearby Paulding County School District is also reporting a first-day case of COVID-19 at Shelton Elementary in Dallas, Georgia.

“It occurred on Monday, the very first day of school. A student who had been at school that day felt ill, and parents took the student for a rapid test Monday evening. When the test was positive, parents immediately alerted the school,” said Paulding spokesman Jay Dillon.

Paulding is only requiring students in close proximity to the COVID-positive child to remain at home. Other children in the class were not required to do so. Parents of children deemed “close contacts” were told to keep their child at home Tuesday and quarantine them for two weeks.. Cherokee had all 20 students in the class and the teacher quarantine at home for two weeks and engage in remote learning.

The Paulding class had 27 students. “I can’t share how many kids are quarantined or what grade level it is because anyone would be able to use that information to identify the affected students,” said Dillon. “The teacher was not a close contact. Teachers are provided masks and face shields and we have encouraged them to avoid being within six feet of a student for more than very brief moments, and never without PPE. "

The child did ride the school bus Monday, said Dillon, but sat with a sibling. Close contacts to the child on the bus have been notified and quarantined, he said.

Paulding is handling each instance of COVID-19, whether staff or student, on a case-by-case basis as circumstances of each case may be different, said Dillon. “For instance, over the weekend we learned that there were confirmed cases within the North Paulding High School football team. We also learned that some of the football players may have associated with other non-football students from the school, so in that case we informed the entire North Paulding High School community.”

In the Shelton Elementary case, Dillon said, “Students had not been at school before Monday, and the student had no association with anyone outside of the student’s homeroom class. It was entirely contained and no students outside of that particular class were exposed, so, following guidance from the Department of Public Health, we notified all families in the student’s class and made sure that those identified as close contacts did not attend school on Tuesday. The principal is following up with a letter to all Shelton parents today.”

Here is that letter from principal Paul Chaffee:

On August 3, 2020, after school hours, we were alerted that a student tested positive for COVID-19. We are working closely with local public health officials to ensure the proper recommendations are followed to isolate the student diagnosed with COVID-19. Our evening custodial staff was immediately contacted and instructed to thoroughly clean and disinfect affected areas of the school building.

Additionally, we identified and communicated with the parents of students determined to be close contacts. If you were not contacted by an administrator, your child was not identified as a close contact. As a parent, the most proactive measures you can take to keep classrooms safe and healthy are to screen your child's health according to the following guidelines:

Check their child's temperature at least twice a day.

Check for COVID-19 symptoms, such as: o Fever or chills, headache, sore throat, cough, or fatigue

New loss of taste or smell

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Congestion or runny nose

Muscle or body aches, nausea or vomiting

If your child exhibits any of these COVID-19 symptoms, the CDC and DPH recommend your child is tested as soon as possible. In addition, please notify the school front office as it is imperative that students who are showing symptoms stay home and quarantine.

Our goal is to keep parents informed as situations arise.


Dr. Paul Chaffee