New school year brings new problems with delta variant

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 10:39 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The delta variant is striking all of our school districts like never before. Georgia health officials just announcing cases in kids have quadrupled over the last several weeks. The highest increase seen in kids 11 to 17 years old.

Columbia County School District posted on their website and emailed parents warning them to expect bus delays up to an hour every day because of COVID-related absences. This is just one of the many effects of the delta variant.

Doctors say this is not the same disease.

“It’s a different virus, and delta is a different variant that’s causing very serious disease in younger people especially those who are not vaccinated,” said Dr. Rodger MacArthur, professor of medicine at Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia.

The pandemic is changing. Just look at the numbers, this week a year ago 15 students had COVID and five employees had it. Fast forward to this year. As of Friday, 506 students have COVID and 62 employees do.

That same week in Richmond County last year, three students and eight teachers had COVID. As of last Friday, there were 187 positive students, 56 teachers, and nearly 130 quarantined.

Not even a month ago, this is how the school districts planned to handle it.

“Typically is we have a large number of students and teachers that have to be quarantined that might be a trigger point for us to consider at-home learning,” said Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw, Richmond County superintendent.

Dr. Steven Flynt, Columbia County superintendent, said: “But what are the numbers looking at here, what’s happening in a school, with a contact tracing, did we actually have spread happen there?”

Now Columbia County parents take to social media with frustrations, stating their children are moved to unrelated classes to make up for teachers being out and lack of subs. On top of the potential hour-long delays their children may have getting to and from school.

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