UPDATED 8/5, 10:25 a.m. ET: Superintendent Brian Otott sent a note to parents, in which he downplayed the images that surfaced online. As TMZ reports, Otott said the hallway was crowded for "just a brief period,"
He also noted that there's no "practical way" to enforce the wearing of masks.
See original story below.
4:19 PM PT -- Superintendent Brian Otott is trying to downplay the situation to concerned parents, telling them the hallway was only packed for "just a brief period" while students went to their next class.
In the image, students in a Paulding County school are packed in a narrow hallway, with very few wearing face masks. The school reopened with the blessing of the Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Department of Health, with a “guidelines, not mandates” policy on how to manage the pandemic, TMZ reports.
Georgia's “Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools” deems “prioritizing safety” as the main concern as schools reopen. Another photo from a Georgia school went viral on Twitter, where seniors from Etowah High School in Cherokee County took a group picture without face coverings.
Families in Cherokee and Paulding counties were given the choice to choose virtual or in-school learning. Neither district is requiring students to wear face masks, though it’s encouraged.
The concerning photos follow news that over 260 employees of the state’s largest school system in Gwinnett County had tested positive or were exposed to the virus before classes resumed.
Many found the Paulding County school photo to be worrisome.