No symptoms? Cobb students exposed to COVID can return to class

Cobb County Schools now allows students who were exposed to COVID in school to return to class if they are asymptomatic, rather than isolating for three days. (AJC file photo)

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Cobb County Schools now allows students who were exposed to COVID in school to return to class if they are asymptomatic, rather than isolating for three days. (AJC file photo)

Cobb County students who have been exposed to COVID-19 can return to the classroom immediately rather than isolating for three days, according to the district’s newly updated policies.

The new allowance only applies to students who were exposed in a school setting and who are asymptomatic. Exposed students who return to the classroom must wear a mask on school district property for seven days. Masks are not otherwise required in the district.

“That will certainly help in having students miss instructional time because of quarantine,” Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said at the December board meeting. Lost instructional time has been a concern for schools around the country as they navigate the pandemic.

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The relaxation of the COVID policy went into effect on Dec. 6.

The district has repeatedly been criticized for its approach to COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Most recently, community organization Watching the Funds-Cobb publicized that families want the district to offer COVID testing in schools.

In response to a district survey of 26,500 people in August, 79% said they wanted to see COVID-19 testing in schools, an open records request by the group revealed. The district has not published the results of the survey or implemented testing. There are 107,000 students in Cobb schools.

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Additionally, a group of parents is suing the district for allegedly not implementing enough mitigation strategies to allow their medically vulnerable students to attend school in person.

Cobb Schools has reported 6,526 cases of COVID-19 between July 1 and Dec. 10.