More than 250 Gwinnett County Public Schools teachers were not at back at schools last week after they told district officials that they had tested positive for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus disease or had been in contact with someone who has it.
District spokeswoman Sloan Roach said there had been 260 teachers, as of last Thursday, who had to be excluded from work because they had a COVID-19 test that turned up positive or because of contact with someone who tested positive. Teachers were expected to return to work last Wednesday to prepare for the beginning of the new school year.
“Through tracing, we know that the majority of these cases are the result of community spread, meaning we have people who have called in to report who have not been at school or work,” Roach said. “Given the number of COVID cases in Gwinnett we would expect to see positives among our employees based on the community spread in our county.”
The number of teachers who are out is expected to change, Roach said. That will be due to new cases being reported as well as some teachers being able to return to work.
As of Monday afternoon, Gwinnett had seen 4,030 new reports of confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the last two weeks, and a total of 17,927 cases since March, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The incidence rate over the last two weeks has been 415 cases for every 100,000 Gwinnett residents. The overall incidence rate for all cases since March is 1,846 cases for every 100,000 residents in the county.
There have been 240 COVID-19-related deaths reported in the county, for a death rate of 24.7 deaths for every 100,000 residents, and a total of 1,996 hospitalizations.
Roach said the district has been preparing to do contact tracing as needed.
“We have reporting and tracing processes in place,” Roach said. “We also have a protocol for excluding employees who are positive or are a contact. In addition, there are protocols for making reports to the Health Department when there are two or more related cases.”