Hundreds of students across US in quarantine after COVID-19 outbreaks at reopened schools

FILE - Cheryl Nicholas, Principal of Layer Elementary School, explains to the media the social distancing and other health precautions that have been initiated at the school a week before classes begin for the year during the COVID-19 pandemic on Aug (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The school year is already off to a troubled start as hundreds of U.S. students were forced to quarantine after individuals tested positive for COVID-19 at their respective schools.

President Donald Trump and his administration continue to aggressively push for schools to reopen, as parents, educators and health officials continue to discuss the risks of sending children back to school amid the ongoing pandemic. 

Here is a look at some of the COVID-19 outbreaks and quarantines that have occurred at schools in different states:


On Aug. 11, the Cherokee County School District, the largest in Georgia, released a statement saying that since the district reopened, 925 students students and staff were sent into quarantine. According to the district, 59 students, teachers and staff members had tested positive for COVID-19 so far.

The next day, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said that 289 students at Woodstock High School were in quarantine and that school would be temporarily closing in-person instruction with reopening scheduled for Aug. 31. Hightower also said in the statement that the number positive cases at the school had increased to 14, with 15 students still pending.

“We anticipate, as we have communicated throughout this process, there will be additional quarantines and school closures as we operate during this pandemic,” according to the district’s statement.

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The announcement of Woodstock High School’s closure came a day after the district said it would close Etowah High School, which made headlines last week after a photo showed dozens of mask-less students squeezed together for first-day-of-school senior photos. Both Woodstock and Etowah High School have about 2,500 students.

A image of students packing a hallway at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia stirred similar controversy.

Barbara Jacoby, a spokeswoman for the Cherokee County School District, said that they anticipated that staff and students could test positive, “which is why we put a system into place to quickly contact trace, mandate quarantines, notify parents and report cases and quarantines to the entire community.”

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On Tuesday, the Delaware Community Schools in Indiana sent 228 students home to quarantine after a football player at Delta High School tested positive for COVID-19. The district said it was only aware of one confirmed case, according to an Aug. 11 report from The Star Press.


On Aug. 12, The New Orleans Advocate reported that 75 first-grade students and six teachers from the Dr. John Ochsner Discovery Health Sciences Academy in Jefferson, Louisiana, went into quarantine for two weeks after a student tested positive for COVID-19.


Last week, the Washington Post reported that 116 students from schools in Corinth, Mississippi, were sent home to quarantine after six students and one staff member tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Superintendent Lee Childress said in a Facebook Live broadcast on Aug. 4 that “just because you begin to have positive cases, that is not a reason for closing school.”

Hundreds of students at Northeast Mississippi Community College were asked to quarantine after nine COVID-19 cases were reported on the school’s grounds since classes resumed on Aug. 3, according to the Daily Journal.