Teachers could stay in classroom despite COVID-19 exposure

Doctors, meat packers, and police officers all fall under the title of "critical infrastructure workers," identified by President Donald Trump's administration.

But this week, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, added teachers to that list -- fanning the flames around an already heated topic in Georgia, as the spread of COVID-19 has forced several schools to close and hundreds of students and staff to quarantine.

So what does the suggested designation mean? 

It could give teachers the green light to side-step two-week quarantines following possible exposure to COVID-19, and instead, head straight back to the classroom.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that "critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community."

Some of those precautions include a pre-screening, regular monitoring, and wearing a mask.

Craig Harper with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators called the addition of teachers to the list "reckless," telling the Associated Press it "starkly contradicts the newest Georgia Department of Public Health guidance."

Proponents of the designation argue it could help prevent stretching schools' resources too thin.

Governor Brian Kemp has yet to take a firm stance on the matter -- unlike our northern neighbor Tennessee whose governor publicly supported the federal guidance -- but at least one Georgia school district already labels school district employees as critical infrastructure workers, Forsyth County.