By Rebecca Gaunt
The Cobb County School District updated its COVID-19 data Friday for the first time in over a month, the same day Watching the Funds – Cobb posted additional data the district did not make public.
Until Dec. 17, 2021, CCSD updated the district cumulative total and posted a breakdown of the numbers by school every Friday. The district has now shifted to only posting a weekly positive case count.
The Jan. 21 update said there were 1,856 positive cases between Jan. 14 and Jan. 21, but it did not include the individual school case numbers. Nor was the data from the missing weeks posted despite requests from parents and the media.
The last posted district cumulative total in December was 6,709.
The updated CCSD website states, “As a result of recent changes to the District’s public health protocols, and their impact on accurate COVID-19 case counts, Superintendent Chris Ragsdale announced that the District’s COVID-19 Tracker will now post the weekly total of all confirmed cases.”
Watching the Funds – Cobb obtained the school case numbers through Jan. 13 by filing an open records request and posted them on Twitter. The tabs on the spreadsheet separate the elementary, middle, high school and summary information.
Click on the Google Docs link in the tweet below to access the numbers. The spreadsheet has a horizontal slider so that you can see the numbers for individual schools through January 13.
The sheet also has tabs at the bottom so you can access elementary school and middle school numbers as well as the high school numbers on the top level of the sheets.
The spreadsheet published by Watching the Fund – Cobb shows a substantial increase in COVID cases between January 6 and January 13, with North Cobb High School showing 80 cases over the last 2-week period.
According to the data, there were 1,642 positive cases reported between Jan. 7 and Jan. 13, and 1,048 positive cases reported between Dec. 31 and Jan. 6.
In subsequent tweets, Watching the Funds – Cobb said it was “disappointed to learn that the district has discontinued the school-level COVID case reporting. We are taxpayers and stakeholders, and we deserve transparency in our school district” and “We submitted an open records request because taxpayers and stakeholders deserve to know. Why did the district stop publishing these numbers? Why did the superintendent say the cases peaked on Jan 1 when they are still climbing?”
Ragsdale announced Jan. 6 that the district would stop contact tracing after the state loosened guidelines.
The Courier reached out to the district for comment on the numbers. It also asked if the district is considering a return to posting a school breakdown and if a decision has been made about implementing an on-site COVID testing program, which is available through the Georgia Department of Health at no cost to CCSD. However, the district has previously stated that it will not respond to questions from the Courier.
Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.