PAULDING CONTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- North Paulding High School now has at least 35 confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and teachers after kicking off the school year with in-person classes a week ago.
On Monday and Tuesday the school was closed for a deep cleaning after only nine tests were confirmed positive. By Wednesday that number had more than tripled.
As a safety measure, Paulding County School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Otott and Principal Gabe Carmona announced Wednesday that students would adhere to a hybrid learning environment.
A letter sent to parents from both Carmona and Otott read in part:
"Before the school year began, we shared that this would be a school year unlike any other, and that there would be challenges ahead that would require us to adjust, adapt, and be flexible. We knew that would be especially true at NPHS, the largest high school in Paulding County with more than 2,000 students and staff on campus at any given time. We have received results from pending COVID-19 tests, and with new positive results we now have at least 35 confirmed cases in the NPHS community since the first day of
school. Obviously, the rate of COVID-19 spread is a concern that will require us to adapt our plan for in person instruction to protect the health and safety of our students and staff.
The plan we have developed will reduce the number of students on campus by half, will reduce hallway congestion, will improve traffic flow during class transitions, and will help mitigate other challenges we have identified since in-person instruction started."
On Monday, sophomore Hannah Watters shared her concerns of the virus spreading throughout the school.
"We don't know how many people those nine people came into contact with, and then we don't know how many people aren't taking tests yet," said Watters. "And then they're coming back this week too and so it's just going to spread like wildfire in that school."
Watters also shared a photo of a packed hallway at the school, showing several students in close proximity to one another without a mask.
Parents, teachers, and some students vying to ensure their concerns were acknowledged by school board members attended a scheduled meeting Tuesday evening.
“The county has said multiple times that schools are undergoing thorough cleaning daily, I have yet to see this carried out consistently," said Rhonda Kelley a South Paulding High School science teacher. "The county has implied that desks and tables would be cleaned in between classes and that cleaner is provided for this purpose, there are not enough custodians for this to happen."
For now, students at North Paulding High School will finish the remainder of the school week in a virtual setting. On Monday, August 17, the district expects to move to a hybrid setting.
Stay with CBS46 as this story develops.