'Several' Students Test Positive for Coronavirus After Drive-By Graduation Event in Atlanta

Multiple members of an Atlanta high school’s graduating class tested positive for COVID-19, days after the school held a special drive-by graduation event for seniors.

The Lovett School’s Head of School Meredyth Cole and Head Nurse Shana Horan alerted the school community to the positive diagnoses in a letter on Saturday, six days after the graduation event.

“We want to let you know that the school has been notified by several Class of 2020 families that their students have tested positive for COVID-19,” the letter read. “Unfortunately the infectious nature of the COVID-19 virus means that most communities will be touched at some point, and we recognize how hard separation and missed milestones have been on the emotional lives of our students.”

Though it’s unclear how many students have tested positive, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Cole and Horan told parents on Friday that a senior who attended the drive-by event was among those to do so.

The student, who was not identified, stayed in their car while at the event, but “later had company over for a graduation gathering, and then traveled out of town with friends,” the officials said. The student has so far only exhibited mild symptoms, and has been isolating at home.

The private college prep school held the special event for seniors on May 17, and videos shared to social media show students standing through their cars’ sunroofs as they drive by and wave to cheering faculty members standing alongside the road through campus.

About 75 school employees attended to wish the students well, and maintained social distancing guidelines while standing near the road, a Lovett spokeswoman told AJC. The students and their families remained in their cars for the entire event, the spokeswoman said, and those affected are now working with the appropriate healthcare professionals and Departments of Health.

Lovett closed its campus in mid-March, and announced April 13 that classes would wrap up through virtual learning for the remainder of the school year. A traditional graduation ceremony has reportedly been rescheduled for late July.

Meanwhile, Georgia was among the first states in the country to lift coronavirus restrictions, and allowed businesses to reopen on late April.

As of Monday afternoon, the state has so far seen at least 40,989 cases and 1,799 deaths attributed to the virus, according to The New York Times.

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