COVID

While more than 243,000 new positive COVID-19 cases among children have been reported in the nation over the past week, the Griffin-Spalding County School System and other local school systems — all who have taken some kind of temporary return to virtual learning — have seen a recent decrease in the number positive cases.

According to GSCS numbers released Friday, 40 of the system’s students and 15 staff members had a current positive COVID test and 103 students were quarantined. On Sept. 2, the system reported 95 positive cases among students and 20 positive cases among staff members, with 505 students quarantined.

GSCS moved temporarily to virtual learning after losing three members of its transportation staff.

Elementary students returned smoothly to in-person learning on Monday, and the system is working to get its middle and high school students back to in-person instruction as soon as possible, Adam Pugh, GSCS executive director of communications and partnerships, said Tuesday.

“We’ve been working on transportation operational plans and will continue to do so,” Pugh said.

The Pike County School System on Friday reported having 49 students and staff members with positive COVID cases and 87 students and staff members quarantined. On Sept. 2, PCSS reported having 183 positive cases among students and staff and a total of 836 students and staff quarantined.

The Lamar County School System was one of the first school systems to temporarily move to virtual learning, returning to in-person learning Sept. 7. On Aug. 30, LCSS reported 36 positive cases among staff members and absences exceeding 600.

On Friday, LCSS reported having a total of 7 positive cases among students and staff.

The local numbers come as state epidemiologist Cherie Dreznek said Tuesday that 60% of all new COVID cases in Georgia are now in Georgia’s K-12 schools. Drenzek, said the highly contagious delta variant is responsible for the surge.

“The delta variant began spreading in Georgia around July 4,” Drenzek told a virtual meeting of the state’s Board of Public Health. “There has been an exponential increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths over the last 60 days.”

According to a report released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 5.3 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. After declining in early summer, child cases have increased, with nearly 500,000 cases in the past two weeks.

“Over 243,000 were added the past week, the second highest number of child cases in a week since the pandemic began,” the AAP report stated.

In Georgia, a cumulative total of 165,305 of positive cases among children ages 0-17 is reported, according to numbers released by the Department of Health. In Spalding County, a cumulative total of 123 positive cases are being reported among children.