Parents in a school district in Georgia, are demanding in-person classes. But hundreds of employees have tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19, revealing the biggest blind spot in the fight to reopen schools

First grade teacher Yolanda Vasquez (R) stands in protest along with other teachers and counselors in front of the Hillsborough County Schools District Office on July 16, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. Teachers and administrators from Hillsborough County Schools rallied against the reopening of schools due to health and safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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At least 260 employees at Gwinnett County School District in Georgia have either tested positive for coronavirus or been exposed to the coronavirus, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. 

It’s the largest school district in the state, and the report comes a day after teachers began in-person pre-planning for the semester, according to WBS.

The incident raised questions about the risks adults in schools take when it comes to in-person sessions. 

Teachers have previously expressed concern over their safety in schools.

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Around 260 employees in Georgia’s largest school district have tested positive for or been exposed to the coronavirus, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. 

According to WBS, the report came a day after teachers at Gwinnett County School District began in-person pre-planning for the semester that is set to begin online on August 12.

Additionally, the cases come as schools across the country decide whether it’s safe to reopen for in-person learning this fall. The case highlights fears some teachers have expressed about going back to the classroom. 

Several teachers in hard-hit states previously told Insider that they’re concerned about going back to school while there are still surges in new coronavirus cases.

“I hate saying that but I totally am preparing to get sick,” Kristin Carpenter, a music teacher in Texas, told Insider. “A part of me feels like let’s just get it over with. I totally don’t want it but that is where I am right now.”

GCSD, for example, is a district in Gwinnett County, which currently has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in all of Georgia’s counties with 17,781 confirmed cases, according to Georgia’s Department of Public Health.

President Donald Trump has pushed for schools to reopen, and on several occasions claimed that children were less likely to contract or transmit the virus.

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“Well they do say that they don’t transmit very easily, and a lot of people are saying they don’t transmit, and we’re studying, Jon, very hard, that particular subject, that they don’t bring it home with them. Now, they don’t catch it easily,” Trump said during a press conference in July, ABC News reported. 

However, experts including Dr. Deborah Birx, who is a member of the White House coronavirus task force, have said more research needs to be done on how easily kids can transmit the virus. 

“There’s still open questions there, and that’s why the president concluded with, ‘we’re studying this very hard,'” Birx said.

While the debate on how reopening schools may impact students, there’s enough evidence to suggest that social distancing could be extremely difficult if not impossible in schools and that could leave teachers and adult staff at risk of contracting the virus. 

Last month, three Arizona teachers who were sharing a classroom to conduct online classes caught the novel coronavirus, and one of them died.

On Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading coronavirus expert said while there are several reasons to open schools back up for in-person learning, safety should take precedent. 

“The primary consideration should always be the safety, the health of the welfare of the children, as well as the teachers and the secondary effects for spreading (to) the parents and other family members,” Fauci said, according to CNN. 

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