9 Test Positive for Coronavirus at Georgia High School Where Viral Photo Showed Students Without Masks
Six students and three staff members who were at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, last week have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a letter sent to parents from the school on Saturday, which was obtained by ABC News.
The school was reportedly informed of the positive cases after private tests were conducted.
"We have anticipated that COVID-19 would impact us as it has nearly every community, and the district has worked in partnership with the Department of Public Health (DPH) to proactively implement safety precautions and response plans," the letter states, according to ABC News.
The letter does not specify if any of the students or staff will be quarantined or if the school will be closed. However, the letter does state that custodial staff will continue daily disinfecting procedures.
Last week, a viral photo and video taken by sophomore Hannah Watters, 15, documented students walking through a crowded hallway without following recommended social distancing measures, and with only some of the students wearing protective masks.
"Day two at North Paulding High School. It's just as bad," Watters wrote alongside the photo. "We were stopped because it was jammed... This is not ok."
Watters said that after her footage went viral, administrators suspended her for five days, citing a violation of policies about cell phone usage at school and taking photographs of minors, according to BuzzFeed News.
The outlet reported that school principal Gabe Carmona, who did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment at the time, had warned students over the intercom that anyone who criticized the school on social media risked discipline.
Explaining why she felt obligated to share her school's pandemic safety practices, Watters told BuzzFeed News that she felt as though "they have not been safe."
"This morning my school called and they have deleted my suspension. To everyone supporting me, I can’t thank you enough," she wrote. "If I’m not responding it’s because my life has been somewhat crazy the past few days. Once again thank you."
Neither Watters nor a spokesperson for North Paulding High has responded to PEOPLE's requests for comment.
As of Aug. 7, there have been at least 197,308 cases and 4,095 deaths attributed to coronavirus in Georgia, according to The New York Times.
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