Lack of COVID-19 safety in schools endangers kids | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

As a result, we spent Christmas sick with COVID-19 and couldn’t attend church or gather with extended family or friends. I likely brought COVID-19 into one of my community circles, infecting four people. I had no symptoms and likely spread the virus while we were eating. One of those people infected his entire family, and they were very sick over the entire Christmas break.

Much of this could have been avoided had the school district mandated indoor masks at school and school events.

How many people were infected by that one event? Likely dozens — or even hundreds. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that for every person who contracts COVID-19 and does not follow protocol, 400 people will eventually be infected. Think about that in terms of the probable cases from the Cobb musical performance.

This spread is playing out in our community, and the Cobb County School district has some responsibility because it has had a zero preventative response to the pandemic. Cobb schools recorded more than 6,000 COVID-19 cases since August. A district survey of 26,500 people done in August showed that 79% favored COVID-19 testing in the schools. Cobb has not published the results of the survey, which were only revealed through an open records request by Watching the Funds-Cobb. Nor has the district implemented testing for the 107,000 students in Cobb schools.

There are so many cases in Georgia this week that the COVID-19 database was overwhelmed and had to shut down. Even if it was up, the data would be inaccurate because many people were probably asymptomatic like me and went about their business as usual.

Cobb County is in the midst of a coronavirus surge, with nearly 1,945 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health today. The county has one of the highest rates for positive COVID-19 tests at 34.6% over the last two weeks.

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With the omicron variant running rampant in the county, Cobb Schools ought to impose an indoor mask requirement at schools. I have been reaching out to board members and leaders since school started on these matters without response. I don’t understand how Cobb can create a dress code policy that is completely biased against young women — skirt lengths, no visible bra straps, no spaghetti straps — but won’t require masks in classrooms.

The CDC guidelines are clear and have been the same for a year: “Everyone 2 years or older who is not fully vaccinated should wear a mask in indoor public places. In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings. In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection and prevent possibly spreading COVID-19 to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.”

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Where is the common sense in our school leadership? Why are the superintendent and school board towing a dangerous line that could permanently impact the community? Why not require masks as recommended by every public health agency on the globe to prevent the spread of disease?

Most people I know are fine with their students wearing masks at school. Most metro Atlanta companies require masks in common indoor areas to prevent infection. Yet, school board members and Superintendent Chris Ragsdale refuse to address this on the board website, meetings, or public presentations. If they led a company that displayed this lack of COVID-19 concern about employees and customers, they would have lost their jobs. But there is no accountability for board members and school leaders.

It is because of Cobb’s lack of any safeguards that we had our second COVID-19 Christmas. There is a direct correlation between kids getting COVID-19 and passing it along to their family. Cobb school leaders refuse to acknowledge this and refuse to keep children safe. In the meantime, Cobb wasted money on unproven UV light technology. Some board members refuse to wear a mask in public setting and publicly mock science.

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What makes me angriest is that Cobb will probably pull the virtual learning lever once the spread gets bad enough rather than being proactive and following CDC guidelines and science now,

Cobb County Schools is trying to sweep its COVID-19 management debacle under the rug. I would like someone to tell me how I can be heard and why the school board and superintendent are not being held accountable for failing to provide a safe environment for kids to learn and prolonging/exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 by ignoring science and discarding best practices.

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