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Georgia investigates COVID-19 'cluster' after several private school students test positive

The big question is when the students were together - and why.

ATLANTA — There is now an investigation into a situation involving students of a private school near Buckhead after several tested positive for COVID-19.

The Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed the state and Fulton County boards of health are now looking into what happened.

The big question is when the students were together - and why. Students haven't come to the Lovett School for classes since March 15 when the school moved to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Public Health said epidemiologists are currently investigating a cluster of COVID-19 cases involving Lovett students. The Lovett School isn’t releasing information on how many students it knows of that recently tested positive for COVID-19.

But, in a new statement released to 11Alive on Monday morning, a school spokeswoman wrote,

“Lovett has been notified by several Class of 2020 families that their graduates have tested positive for COVID-19. The school, which fully transitioned to a robust virtual learning platform on March 15, has maintained a closed campus with very limited access since that time. 

The notifications were made several days after a socially distanced drive-by senior parade occurred; an in-person graduation has been postponed to late July. The school has been made aware of several off-campus social gatherings but has no information on any private events. Families of the graduates diagnosed with COVID-19 are working with the appropriate healthcare professionals and Departments of Health.”

Online, the Lovett School describes itself as an independent kindergarten through 12th-grade school and college-preparatory institution.  For grades six through 12, tuition for the upcoming school year is listed at $30,800.

The number of Lovett students testing positive for COVID-19 is described by a Georgia Department of Public Health spokeswoman as a "cluster."

And by e-mail wrote 11Alive saying:

“DPH and the Fulton County Board of Health were notified by the Lovett School of students recently testing positive for COVID-19. The Fulton County Board of Health is awaiting the test results from the lab and the names of the students from Lovett. We will begin case interviews and contact tracing as soon as we have the necessary information. 

In the meantime, the school has been given guidance about isolation and quarantine protocols and symptom monitoring to share with staff, students and families.”

And, as the state and Fulton County investigate these cases, contact tracing will be key to learning who the students have recently come in contact with -  people who could have been at risk for infection.

As its investigation continues, the Georgia Department of Public Health has given the Lovett School guidance on isolation and quarantine protocols and monitoring symptoms to be shared with the school's staff, students, and their families.

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