Around 260 employees in Georgia’s largest school district have been “excluded from work” after testing positive for the coronavirus or being exposed to the virus, the county told NBC News on Monday.
Sloan Roach, a spokesperson for the Gwinnett County School District — which has an estimated 180,000 students in the Atlanta Metro area — said the number is an approximation of their record since last Thursday. She did not reply to a follow-up question about whether the number encompasses the total amount of employees sickened or exposed since the pandemic began.
“This number is fluid as we continue to have new reports and others who are returning to work,” she said in an email.
Roach said that, through contact tracing, they have determined the majority of cases stem from community spread and many employees have called in sick who have not been at school or work.
“Given the number of COVID cases in Gwinnett we would expect to see positives among our employees,” Roach said. The county, Georgia’s second largest, has recorded almost 18,000 cases since the pandemic began, but 4,000 alone in the last two weeks, according to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health. Two hundred and forty people in Gwinnett have died from the virus.
The county’s announcement comes as Georgia nears 200,000 cases and 4,000 deaths, and as schools weigh the risks of reopening with in-person instruction.