5th graders at metro elementary school sent home after COVID-19 outbreak

MARIETTA, Ga. — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Cobb County, an entire grade level at one elementary school has had to be sent home.

The principal at East Side Elementary School in Marietta, Maria Taylor, says she had no other choice than to send the 5th graders home because so many had tested positive for the virus, she told parents in a letter.

East Side Elementary parent Kelly Porter was not surprised to hear the news.

“I knew there had been several outbreaks in the school,” she told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington.

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Parents of all 5th graders were asked to pick their kids up in a 30-minute window Wednesday morning.

The reason why was not explained until the principal’s letter later in the day.

“This was not an easy decision to make but was done so due to the fact that over the past few days we have had an extremely high number of 5th grade students who have tested positive for COVID-19,” the letter read.

The letter went on to inform parents that 5th graders would transition to virtual learning from Thursday, August 12 through Friday, August 20. They will be allowed to return to in-person learning on Monday, August 23.

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“This is just the beginning. You’re going to keep seeing this, I think every 10 days,” said Devesh Ranjan, who has two kids at the school.

The director of the Cobb Douglas Public Health Department says that wearing masks and getting vaccinated will help slow down the spike they have been seeing in recent weeks.

“I’m worried about the kids who are grades kindergarten through 4 who will be going to a school where a lot of people are still not in masks,” Ranjan said.

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Taylor also says that school is undertaking contact tracing measures and have plans in place to keep students in the other grade levels safe.