Gwinnett schools record more than 600 COVID cases in first week

Gwinnett County Public Schools reported 607 new cases of the coronavirus during the first week of the 2020-2021 school year. The district requires masks, as in shown in this photo from a year ago. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Combined ShapeCaption
Gwinnett County Public Schools reported 607 new cases of the coronavirus during the first week of the 2020-2021 school year. The district requires masks, as in shown in this photo from a year ago. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Editor’s note: Story has been updated with more details from the Gwinnett County Public Schools district

More than 600 students and staffers in Gwinnett County Public Schools reported in the first week of the school year that they were in the 10-day quarantine period after testing positive for COVID-19.

Of the 607 cases, 539 were students and 68 were staff, according to the school system’s daily reports, which track cases among employees and students signed up for in-person learning.

ExploreMore stories about Gwinnett County Public Schools

As of Thursday, there were 483 active cases of COVID-19 among students and school-based staff and 20 among employees who work in district offices.

The Gwinnett district began a staggered return to school Aug. 4, with all in-person students back in buildings by Monday. About 97% of the 180,000 students in the Gwinnett district are learning in person.

None of the 80 students who reported on Aug. 4 that they’d tested positive for COVID-19 had been to their schools in person, said Bernard Watson, a spokesman for the school district. Many of the other students who reported testing positive in the first week had not set foot in their schools, he said. Gwinnett schools are not conducting testing.

ExploreGwinnett school district reimposes mask mandate amid new CDC guidance

As of Thursday, Archer High School documented 17 active cases. Shiloh High reported 16, Collins Hill High had 13, while Brookwood High, Camp Creek Elementary, Dacula High, Duluth High and McConnell Middle each reported 11.

Masks are required in Gwinnett schools.

Health officials say Georgia is experiencing an uptick in coronavirus cases due to low vaccination rates and the highly contagious delta variant. Children under 12 are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.

The spike in cases this week prompted Fulton County Schools to extend its mask mandate to all buildings. Previously, students were required to wear masks except for 15 schools in Johns Creek.

Four schools in Clayton County have gone fully virtual since the year began last week due to rising case counts. All fifth-grade classes at East Side Elementary School in Cobb County switched to virtual classes through next week due to a spike there.

Elsewhere in the state, school districts in four Georgia counties temporarily switched to virtual learning due to outbreaks: Macon, Glascock, Talbot and Taliaferro.