Weekly COVID-19 count nearly triples in Cherokee County schools

Parents walk their children to the entrance of Woodstock Elementary School in Cherokee County on the first day of school on August 3, 2020.  STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Parents walk their children to the entrance of Woodstock Elementary School in Cherokee County on the first day of school on August 3, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

The number of students and teachers placed under quarantine for COVID-19 this week in the Cherokee County School District doubled from last week, with the number of new infections nearly tripling.

The school system north of Atlanta has been releasing numbers periodically on its website but committed to a regular summary each Friday, so the new numbers allow comparison over a similar period of time.

As this second week of school comes to a close, the district is reporting 80 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 1,106 students and employees quarantined as a result. Last week ended with 28 cases and 563 under quarantine in the district of about 40,000 students.

The number of newly infected students more than tripled, to 66 from 20. Five staffers tested positive this week compared with one last week, and nine teachers compared with seven last week.

Most of the infected students were in high school, their numbers rising to 47 from 13 at the end of last week. Eleven elementary school students and eight middle school students tested positive this week.

All six high schools were reporting new cases.

Etowah and Woodstock high schools have closed due to their outbreaks, with each reporting 13 newly infected students this week causing 170 and 249 students to be under quarantine respectively.

Etowah became a national focus last week after a photograph showing scores of seniors huddled together without masks for a back-to-school moment went viral online. However, no senior there reported an infection last week and just two of the newly infected this week were seniors, according to the district’s list.

Two Etowah High English teachers tested positive for COVID-19 last week, as did one this week, along with a teacher described as “digital.”

Cherokee High had a dozen students reporting infections and 125 placed under quarantine this week but has remained open. So has Creekview High with seven new student infections and 161 students placed under quarantine this week.

River Ridge and Sequoyah high schools had one new student infected apiece this week, with two dozen students placed under quarantine this week at the first school and 30 at the latter.

Most of these schools enrolled about 2,000 students last year, though Cherokee High reported about 2,700 and Etowah High was close behind with 2,400. About 1 in 4 students countywide choose online learning to begin the school year.

See the full list of school-by-school cases and quarantine count here.