PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. - Students at North Paulding High School will not return to in-person classes Tuesday after nine students and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. Now, an aunt is speaking out after two of her nephews who attend school at North Paulding tested positive.
Angie Franks says she's angry about how the Paulding County School District has handled coronavirus precautions. She says her 14 and 15-year-old nephews both tested positive for the virus and were both at school for in-person classes.
"My reaction to the school was 'Wow. Is this real?' I mean, the first thing I said was 'Wow, that's a big COVID fest right there,'" said Franks.
Franks says her nephews sat in school last week before they knew they had the coronavirus. The superintendent announced this weekend North Paulding would close Monday and Tuesday for cleaning, but Franks does not believe that will be enough.
"The kids are still carrying the virus, so you can clean the school all day long, but as soon as you let the kids back in, what good did it do you?" questioned Franks.
North Paulding gained national attention after a picture of a crowded hallway with few masks and no social distancing went viral.
"I think Paulding, unfortunately, is getting singled out by the media due to the one picture that was posted," said Elyssa Wooley, a senior at North Paulding High School.
Wooley says that picture doesn't tell the whole story.
"That does not portray what's going on at North Paulding," said Wooley.
Wooley says most hallways are one-way hallways in the school and protections are being taken in the classroom too.
"They had us sanitize our hands before we walked in and wipe down our desks and then when we left, we sanitized our hands again and sanitized our desks," explained Wooley.
She says many of her classmates in the senior class are happy to be back in school and feel safe being there.
"I think for a majority of people we are happy to go back. We want to go back. We feel safe at school and digital learning just does not work for students," said Wooley.
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