[An earlier version of this had the headline beginning with “If we stop” in double-quotes. A reader objected to this, and on reflection, I agree. Double-quotes should not be used with hypotheticals, only with actual quotes]
The attitude of the Cobb County School District seems to be if we stop counting COVID cases, COVID won’t exist.
The Cobb County School District still has the following message on their website as of the publication of this “From the Editor” opinion column:
Every Friday, when school is in session, Cobb Schools will provide you with the number of new active COVID-19 cases.
District cumulative totals will reflect District totals since July 1st, 2021. School-by-school cumulative totals will reflect school totals since face-to-face instruction began on August 2nd, 2021.
Yet the page hasn’t been updated since December 15, 2021, before the holiday break, and nearly a month ago.
At that time the district’s cumulative total of COVID cases stood at 6,709.
The Cobb County School District has implemented an unprofessional and in my opinion inept and childish policy of refusing to provide responses to the Courier through Nan Kiel, their spokesperson, so we have to deal with them through ORRs (Open Records Requests), which they have to at least pretend they are complying with under Georgia law.
But the district told the Marietta Daily Journal that the policy on whether to count and report to the public COVID cases among students is “under review.”
The case rate among 5- to 17-year-olds in Cobb County stands at 1,642 cases per 100,000 of population over the Georgia Department of Public Health’s 14-day reporting period, many times higher than the threshold set by the CDC for “high community transmission.”
And Region N, the hospital region that includes Cobb County, is at 96.52 percent of bed capacity in its Intensive Care Units (ICUs), not a sign of a pandemic that is under control.
It’s mind-numbing that with an ongoing pandemic, there would even be a question of whether the district would continue to report cases to the public.
We put in an open records to the district, and they have (on thumb-drive or CD-ROM! That’s a whole other story itself), a response to our request at the district offices, which I’ll pick up Monday.
But since I put the request in last week, I have no idea whether the numbers will still be relevant when I drive to their offices, or whether there will be any numbers on the storage device at all.
I’ve often joked that the Cobb County School District is a taxpayer-supported public relations firm that runs schools as a side business.
But ending their reporting of case numbers when their reputation is already in tatters as a result of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic does not even show basic competence in public relations.
After the “review” is over, I hope that the Cobb County School District comes to its senses and starts counting and reporting COVID cases. It’s really the only sensible course of action.