Multiple Students Test Positive for Coronavirus After Drive-By Graduation

Several students from a private school in Atlanta, Georgia, have tested positive for coronavirus. The news was confirmed on Saturday, just days after the Lovett School held a drive-in graduation celebration and parade, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In an email to students' parents sent on Friday, Lovett Head of School Meredyth Cole and Head Nurse Shana Horan said the school had been notified that one graduating senior tested positive for COVID-19. Given that the student had attended their graduation event, parents were told the following day that the number of confirmed cases had grown as a result. "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 email read, in part. "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."

It's not clear at this point if these students had contracted the virus as part of the drive-in ceremony, or if it happened off-campus at some point. Though the unidentified student had been "confined to his or her car while on campus," according to the email, it stated that they "later had company over for a graduation gathering, and then traveled out of town with friends." The student in question has displayed mild symptoms but is reportedly in isolation. The condition of the other students isn't known, nor is the exact number affected.

The Lovett School had pivoted to online learning in mid-March, as several schools across the country did as the pandemic began to take hold of the U.S. It's attended by roughly 600 high school-age students, as well as 1,000 in lower grades. Courtney Fowler, another employee of the school, stressed that the official drive-in ceremony was done with social distancing in mind, but "any other events mentioned were not school-sanctioned, so we have no further information on those."

Back on May 1, the state of Georgia had confirmed 1,000 new cases of COVID-19, just 24 hours after urging restrictions against the advice of multiple health officials. That day, Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted that "certain businesses across Georgia may resume limited operations, subject to specific, mandatory criteria," although "bars, night clubs, amusement parks, live performances venues, and public pools remain closed at this time."