There are dozens of schools that now regret opening their doors for the 2020 school year amid the spreading COVID-19 pandemic. According to CNN, in the last two weeks of July 2020, over 97,000 students contracted the virus across the country, and now they’re getting ready to go back to school with other kids, in-person.
Reportedly, even more students are becoming sick upon returning to the physical classroom. And, whereas a few weeks ago lots of kids were looking forward to getting out of the house and back around their friends, now it is simply a scary situation when they actually do so.
The Dangerous Hallways of Schools During COVID-19
Hannah Watters, a fifteen-year-old sophomore at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, showed the nation just how seriously dangerous the situation in a school’s environment can be as kids across the country are returning to classes. Hannah herself is an honor student, so of course she was happy to be going back to school. But, upon arriving, she noticed how many kids we’re not wearing masks, or practicing social distancing, and just didn’t feel safe.
Hannah was so worried and upset about the situation that she posted a picture of her school hallway (that was packed full of close-walking kids) on Twitter. Then, she did it again the next day, writing a caption under the second picture that read “This is not okay, not to mention the 10% mask rate.”
After posting her pictures on August 4th, 2020, they rapidly went viral. But, did the school officials take this as a warning from Hanna to enforce mask usage, social distancing, etc.? No. Instead, they decided to suspend Hannah for five days for violating the social media and phone policies at the school.
By the time CBS News, CNN, and other major nationwide news sources caught hold to this story, the girl was already getting death threats. She told reporters that there were kids who said they were going to beat up every girl named Hannah, and post other things on social media, like “Hannah’s going to have a bad day at school today.”
A little boy goes to school with mask. Image from U.S. News & World Report.
She told CNN that she felt like the school had literally used the kids as “guinea pigs”, and that she felt they could have just stayed closed like other schools to make sure that everybody was safe upon returning. Hanna felt like they had made them all go back to school, just as an experiment to see what would happen.
After the media caught a hold of the situation, all of a sudden school officials lifted Hanna’s five-day suspension. CBS News said that the Paulding County School District finally announced in a public statement that Hannah’s suspension from school had been rescinded, but that they didn’t want to include why they’d suspended her and other kids who took similar pictures in the first place. The school district also did not want to mention in the public statement the reason why they eventually reversed the suspensions.
Other Situations with COVID-19 Infecting Students
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in early August of 2020 that dozens and dozens of employees had ended up contracting Coronavirus (or were possibly quarantined because of exposure to it) in what is apparently the biggest school district in the State of Georgia.
It’s absolutely mind-blowing how quickly the disease spread through the Gwinnett County Public School system, according to the newspaper, when the teachers started their in-person pre-planning at the over 140 facilities across the county the week before classes started. After just one day of coming in contact with their colleagues, 260 of the folks on the Gwinnett County School District’s faculty and staff ended up testing positive for COVID-19.
It seems to me that, with that particular county having one of the highest rates of Coronavirus cases in the entire State of Georgia (over 17,700 cases, close to 2,000 hospitalizations and 240 deaths), they would have thought it through more thoroughly before letting everybody return to the regular in-person school routine this year.
One of the worst places for COVID-19 infection among children is Florida. Even with two kids dying in early August from the virus (which made it their sixth and seventh case of deaths from the disease for kids under 17), and with the panhandle State been the one with the fifth highest rate of positive infections of Coronavirus in the entire country, they still decided to open up schools in at least a dozen counties for school across the state.
Along with another seven-year-old Georgia boy who died from COVID-19 without even showing any pre-existing conditions of the disease, and much of the States in the southeastern U.S. collectively averaging between 1,000 to 5,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, things seem to be getting worse than better among children who are contracting it.
If schools are just letting kids go back within their wall so freely without really looking at the statistics thoroughly enough, then I have to agree with Hannah, the girl who posted the pictures of the students in the hallway of her school. Some of these schools are probably letting these kids come back to school to use them as “guinea pigs”. It needs to stop immediately, because these deaths are real, and this situation is getting scarier as the days go on.