Pro-mask wearing demonstrators stage a protest at the Cobb County School Board Headquarters Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Marietta, Georgia. AP Photo/Mike Stewart

A Georgia county shuttered all the schools in the district for two weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

School officials said at least 76 students tested positive for the disease and 679 were in quarantine, according to Action News Jax.

The shutdown occurred less than two weeks after the school year began, and there won’t be virtual instruction.

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A school district in Georgia shuttered all 11 of its schools for two weeks after an outbreak of COVID-19 tore through the schools.

Ware County Georgia School District officials said 76 students had tested positive for the disease while 679 students were quarantining for possible exposure to the virus, according to a report from Action Jax News.

At least 67 school district faculty have tested positive for COVID-19 while 150 are in quarantine in what officials described as “a sharp increase in the number of active positive COVID cases,” according to the report.

“During this two-week pause, no instruction will take place,” officials said in a statement posted to the Ware County School District’s Facebook page. “In-season extra-curricular practices and competitions will continue as scheduled.”

The school district has about 950 employees in total and there are just over 5,900 students enrolled in the Ware County School District, according to district officials.

The closure came less than two weeks after students returned to schools on August 4.

“Some staff members are dealing with their own illness or sickness in their families, so they are unable to work right now,” school officials said on Facebook. “Staff members at two schools are grieving significant losses. Many of our staff members have reported that this has been the most difficult start of a new year they’ve ever experienced.”

The closure announced Thursday canceled all on-campus activities in school buildings while officials worked to disinfect the district’s 11 school buildings.

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There would be no virtual at-home learning while schools were closed but extra-curricular activities could continue as scheduled, school officials said.

In its statement, district officials said staff would return to classrooms on August 30 for a week of planning before students returned for in-person instruction on September 7.

The closure comes as the US grapples with another surge of COVID-19 cases, fueled by the more contagious Delta variant primarily in southern states with low vaccination rates. According to WSAV, masks were strongly recommended to be worn in schools but were not mandated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July recommended that all students and staff wear masks during the school day regardless of their vaccination status amid the spread of the Delta variant. Some GOP state leaders, in states like Florida and Texas, have worked to bar school districts from imposing mask mandates in schools.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, has not imposed a mask mandate but has also not banned school districts from requiring students and staff to wear them.

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