Georgia school seen in viral photo temporarily closes after 9 positive tests

Author: CBS News
Published: Updated:
In this photo posted on Twitter, students crowd a hallway, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, at North Paulding High School iIn this photo posted on Twitter, students crowd a hallway, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga. / AP / AP

A Georgia high school that was featured in a viral photo showing students packed tightly in a hallway has closed temporarily after nine students and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus, CBS Atlanta affiliate WGCL-TV reports. North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, reopened for in-person learning Aug. 3.

The school will be closed to in-person learning Monday and Tuesday, according to a letter sent to students’ parents and guardians on Sunday. Extracurricular activities have also been canceled for those days.

Students will be informed if they can return for in-person learning on Tuesday night, the letter stated. The letter also noted the building will be “thoroughly cleaned and disinfected” while the school is shuttered.

On Saturday, the school informed students’ parents and guardians that after one week of in-person instruction, six students and three staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.

The school faced national criticism last week after photos of the school’s hallways showed students standing shoulder-to-shoulder, many of them without face coverings. Two students who shared photos of the school on social media were initially suspended, but their punishments were eventually reversed following more national outcry.

Some suburban Atlanta school districts began in-person classes Monday with mask-optional policies. The day after school resumed, one school announced a second grader tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the child’s teacher and classmates to be sent home to quarantine for two weeks.

Students at North Paulding High School are not being required to wear face masks or sit at socially distanced desks, one student told “CBS This Morning” lead national correspondent David Begnaud.

In Cherokee County, Georgia, at least 11 students and two staff members across elementary, middle and high schools have tested positive for COVID-19 since last week. After conducting contact tracing, the district said at least 250 students and staff who had possible exposure to positive cases must quarantine for two weeks. During that time, students will receive online instruction.

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