Georgia governor says reopening schools 'went real well'

Georgia Gov. Brian KempBrian KempOn The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Businesses contribute thousands to backers of Georgia election law after condemning it Conservative group to defend Georgia election law in All-Star Game ads MORE (R) said Monday that reopening schools in the state last week “went real well” except for photos shared online showing crowded hallways.

The Georgia governor praised the schools that reopened last week for in-person instruction during a Monday press briefing and said he’s been in “constant communication” with educational leaders. 

“I think quite honestly this week went real well other than a couple of virtual photos,” he said. “But the attitude from what they’re telling me was good.”

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Kemp acknowledged that “there’s definitely going to be issues when you open anything,” including COVID-19 cases. But, he added, that’s why testing and supplying schools with masks and cleaning equipment are important.

The governor’s comments come after a Georgia high school reportedly suspended two students for sharing photos of hallways packed with students, many not wearing masks. One of the students, who posted photos and tallies of how many classmates were wearing masks, said that her punishment was later lifted.

The school, North Paulding High School, announced on Sunday it would temporarily close on Monday and Tuesday after at least six students and three staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

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At least 12 students and two staff members from about a dozen schools in Cherokee County have also tested positive, prompting the school system to send more than 250 students who were potentially exposed to quarantine for 14 days, The Associated Press reported

Kemp reported that the state was “seeing the curve flatten on new cases” during the press briefing after rising throughout June and July. 

The New York Times categorizes Georgia’s new case trend as “mostly the same” instead of increasing or decreasing, as the state has a seven-day average of 3,227 new cases per day. 

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome AdamsJerome AdamsThe Hill's Morning Report - Surging COVID-19 infections loom over US, Olympics Surgeon general defends CDC lifting mask mandate Former surgeon general says CDC guidance on masks 'premature' and 'wrong' MORE joined Kemp for the press conference and said people “don’t have to wait until we get a vaccine.”

“To the kids in schools, I want you to understand, if you want prom in person next year, if you want to go to spring break, if you want an in-person graduation, then we need you to work together,” he said.