COBB COUNTY SCHOOLS STAY 100% VIRTUAL FOR NOW

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January  2021

FOR THE SAFETY OF CHILDREN, TEACHERS, STAFF, FAMILIES AND THE COMMUNITY, WE THE SIGNED HEREWITH, IMPLORE COBB COUNTY SCHOOLS STAY 100%  VIRTUAL UNTIL:

- INFECTION RATES DECLINE TO MUCH SAFER LEVELS,

- ICU HOSPITAL BED AVAILABILITY INCREASES, AND,

- TEACHERS AND PERSONAL-CONTACT STAFF ARE VACCINATED.

 

THE 9 COMPELLING REASONS:

1. COMMUNITY CASE RATES GREATLY EXCEED CDC’s STATED THRESHOLD FOR "HIGHEST RISK OF TRANSMISSION IN SCHOOLS".

The CDC sets 201 cases per 100,000 residents as the start of "High risk of transmission in schools"  See CDC school risk levels here: 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/indicators.html#thresholds

As of 1/20/21 Cobb’s 2-week infection rate is 887 per 100,000 residents  - more than 400% the rate set by the CDC as the "High Risk Of Infection In Schools" threshold.  And rates are continuing to rise alarmingly.

.See the Georgia Department of Public Health infection report here and scroll down to see the county map https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report


In August, Cobb schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said that schools would not re-open for face to face learning until cases were below 200 per 100,000 residents.  Cobb’s rate of infection now (as of 1/3/21) is 703 per 100,000 Cobb residents.


See earlier statements by Superintendent Chris Ragsdale here:   https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/cobb-wants-better-covid-19-numbers-before-reopening-classrooms/DYE7VRAR3FEQDJ7DJVIDFHCZLU/

2. FURTHERMORE - CASES ARE LIKELY TO RISE EVEN HIGHER AS THE POST THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS RATES CONTINUE TO SURGE SIGNIFICANTLY.

While Cobb’s cases are 3 times (3X) above the threshold at which the CDC sets for “the Highest Risk Of Infection In Schools”, these already deeply concerning numbers are likely to increase significantly as we are now in the midst of an ever-increasing post-Thanksgiving and Christmas surge on surge.

3. AVAILABLE HOSPITAL ICU BEDS ARE WOEFULLY LOW IN THE PRIMARY COBB HOSPITALS.  ICU'S AND EMERGENCY ROOMS ARE DIVERTING INTAKES DUE TO LACK OF RESOURCES.

The CDC cites greater than 90% of ICU beds-in-use as the start of "Higher risk of transmission in schools" 

See CDC link here and click on the table of indicators: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/indicators.html#thresholds)

As of 1/20/21 The National Emergency Department Overcrowding Scale (NEDOCS) cites one key Cobb hospital as "severe Or overcrowdwd".  And one Key Cobb Hospital is diverting emergency room and ICU intake.

see:   https://georgiarcc.org/?county=Cobb&region=&regional_coordinating_hospital=&search_by_type=&search-by-hospital=&search=

4. NEW, EVEN MORE CONTAGIOUS COVID STRAINS ARE EMERGING IN THE UNITED STATES AND COBB COUNTY

The CDC and the World Health Organization confirm that a new Covid strain is emerging in the US that is 58% - 70% more contagious than the already highly infectious original strain.  Also, as of 1/20/21, there is also emerging Cobb County..

See information on the new Covid strain here:  https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-12-21/who-says-new-coronavirus-strain-appears-more-infectious-but-experts-expect-vaccines-to-work

and more information here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-reports-first-case-of-new-covid-19-strain-11609281769

See information on the new strain found in Cobb County here:https://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2021/01/infectious-variant-covid-cobb/#:~:text=Health....-,A%20new%2C%20more%20infectious%20variant%20of%20the%20coronavirus%20has%20been,themed%20town%20hall%20Tuesday%20evening.

5. CHILDREN CAN AND DO CONTRACT AND TRANSMIT COVID....THOUGH MANY MAY NOT SHOW SIGNS OF INFECTION (ASYMPTOMATIC).  THIS MAKES INFECTED CHILDREN DIFFICULT TO IDENTIFY AND SEPARATE.  THIS REPRESENTS A RISK TO OTHER CHILDREN, THEIR FAMILIES, AND TEACHERS.

See CDC link here regarding infection and spread by children here:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/children/symptoms.html

quote from this CDC information......  "While fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others." 

6. DANGER TO TEACHERS, BUS DRIVERS AND IN-SCHOOL STAFF

Cobb now has at least four (4) teachers KNOWN to have been hospitalized and one sadly has died.  

Do we not have more respect for the safety and the lives of our teachers, bus drivers, and school staff? While students often exhibit little or no physical signs even when they are indeed infected,  the school staff conversely, may be at high risk of serious illness while interacting with these non-symptomatic, though infected students.

7. VACCINES ARE ON THE WAY....... SURELY WE CAN BE VIRTUAL UNTIL THEN.

There is light at the end of the tunnel with vaccine distribution underway.  Why not stay virtual at least until our valued teachers, in-school staff, and bus drivers are vaccinated and protected?  At this time the CDC and FDA are not approving the vaccinating of children due to a lack of impact data on them.  This poses a threat to the safety of our teachers and other direct-contact staff ...unless the teachers and staff themselves have been vaccinated.

8. COBB SCHOOLS AND CLASSROOMS ARE JUST NOT SAFE ENOUGH AS IT RELATES TO COVID

Cobb schools seem to have very little or no daily, pre-entry screening such as temperature checks, etc.

 Many classrooms have more face to face students than can be safely physically distanced.

Many schools do not have windows that open thereby reducing or eliminating the possibility of increased fresh-air circulation.  The CDC cites fresh air circulation as a key way to help mitigate Covid spread indoors.  To the public's knowledge, there is no HEPA filtration of heating and AC air.

Although Superintendent Ragsdale recently announced the intent to install ultraviolet technology to reduce virus in the classroom, the technology will only be activated in the evening, leaving classrooms unprotected during school-time hours.

Parents may unknowingly send their infected, but non-symptomatic children into schools, causing the spread of the virus in school during hours unprotected by the ultraviolet system.

9. FOR THE ABOVE REASONS, THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT TIME.....BUT RATHER THE WORST TIME SINCE COVID BEGAN, TO HAVE FACE TO FACE LEARNING AND RISK SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY SPREAD.

IT ONLY MAKES SENSE MR. RAGSDALE.......STAY VIRTUAL FOR NOW AND KEEP OUR CHILDREN, FAMILIES, TEACHERS, AND STAFF, SAFE FROM THE EFFECTS OF A PUNISHING, DEADLY VIRUS.