Photo by Joshua Hoehne

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

A high school outside of Atlanta, Georgia, has lifted the suspension of at least one student who shared images of a crowded campus hallway that went viral, according to the student and her mother. The 15-year-old was one of at least two students who was previously suspended for sharing photos of students packed in a hallway and lacking face coverings. The suspension was originally enacted out of regard for student’s privacy, according to a school official. 

Student Hannah Watters said she felt compelled to share the image because she was concerned for the safety of everyone. The photo was shared at a time when “parents and administrators are making decisions about how to ensure students get the education they need while also staying safe in an ongoing pandemic.” 

Schools in states where students have returned, including Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Indiana, have had to initiate quarantines and in some cases shut down classrooms and schools temporarily. The Atlanta suburb’s school superintendent said that wearing a mask is strongly encouraged, but there is no practical way to enforce face coverings. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci instructed the “default position with K-12 schools should be to reopen them,” as long as safety measures remain a priority. Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Tex., set off debates after moving to block local health authorities from shutting down classrooms before the school year has started. The governor has repeatedly said he trusts local school leaders to decide whether and how to bring students back to classrooms. The American Federation of Teachers has said it doesn’t consider in-person school to be safe unless fewer than 5% of coronavirus tests in an area are positive and urged families to assess their personal risk level when making the decision to send children to school.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Photos of crowded school hallways in Paulding lead to national stir – Atlanta Journal Constitution – 8/7/2020
The photos, reportedly taken by students on the first few days of classes and posted to social media, show the hallway packed with students at North Paulding High School, with few masks to be seen — both in conflict with the safety protocols advised by epidemiologists who say social distancing is key to fighting the spread of COVID-19 and masks are crucial when six feet of distance isn’t possible.

Now Kids Are Being Suspended for Posting Photos of Their Crowded School – The Cut – 8/6/2020
With no federal guidance on what to do, aside from a few mad tweets from Donald Trump insisting that “SCHOOLS MUST REOPEN,” states, counties, and cities are implementing a patchwork of different plans for the start of the school year, some online and some in person.

Georgia school district will now only offer virtual learning after 90 staff members are forced to quarantine – CNN – 8/7/2020
A school district in Georgia has decided to start the school year with virtual learning, after more than 90 staff members were forced to quarantine due to a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19, or due to being exposed to someone who did.

New York teachers’ unions demand ‘immediate closure’ of schools over a single coronavirus case – Fox News – 8/7/2020
New York teachers’ unions this week said that just one positive case of COVID-19 in a school should prompt an “immediate closure” for 14 days, as the groups roll out their proposals for the fall 2020 semester amid the coronavirus pandemic.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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