Paulding County student not surprised by school's COVID-19 cases

Hannah Watters was saddened but not at all surprised to hear nine people from North Paulding High School contracted COVID-19.

She said the crowded hallways she recorded last week were imminent signs of trouble. Now, the school is closed for two days for deep cleaning and disinfection.

"I knew we were going to get cases no matter what. I was surprised that they tested positive so quickly because we were only in school for three days. A lot of my friends, we're upset because we had to be used as guinea pigs for the first three days. We had to be test subjects to see what would happen," the 15-year-old sophomore told FOX 5's Portia Bruner.


Watters posted the video and photos on Twitter last Tuesday. Wednesday, she was suspended for violating phone use and social media policies after the images went viral and put a national spotlight on the school district. By Friday, the school rescinded her suspension.

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"I want to stay in-person as long as I can, but we can't if people keep on getting sick. It shouldn't take people risking their lives for people to get concerned about this because this has been a concern since March," Watters said.

School administrators sent two letters to parents over the weekend. One, dated Aug. 8, indicated six students and three staff members contracted COVID-19 last week. The second, dated Aug. 9 advised the school would switch to a digital platform with no extracurricular activities on Monday or Tuesday while officials and custodians work with the Department of Public Health to clean the building.

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The letters emphasize the health and safety staff and students are of urge parents to take proactive measures to help curb the spread of the virus, but Watters said she wishes administrators would add masks to the dress code.

"You should always feel safe at school, but when you are put into difficult situations by adults who are supposed to be caring about your health, it stresses you out even more which we shouldn't have to experience," she said.

School officials are expected to announce reopening plans by Tuesday evening.

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