Hundreds of South Georgia students must quarantine after COVID-19 exposure

More than 50K school buses recalled

Dozens of students, employees tested positive for COVID-19 during last week

A Valdosta school system has announced that hundreds of students must quarantine after more than a dozen students tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week, according to a school system announcement.

Lowndes County Schools has reportedly seen an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases, with 12 students testing positive for the coronavirus, according to officials. The school system serves 10,603 students. Of those, 116 students were quarantined due to possible exposure at school and another 101 students were quarantined due to exposure outside of the school setting, according to the county schools report.

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“For the past seven days, Lowndes County Schools positive COVID-19 cases of faculty and students is .233% compared to the Lowndes County community data reported by the Department of Public Health of .161%.”

In addition to the 14 students diagnosed with COVID-19, another 14 employees reported testing positive for the virus. There are 1,390 employees who work for the school system. As of Monday, nine employees are quarantined for possible exposure at school and 13 employees are quarantined due to community exposure.

The announcement comes close to the holiday break that will soon close school systems across the state. Cherokee County School District will not return for classes at three high schools until after winter break due to COVID-19 outbreaks across the area, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report. River Ridge, Sequoyah and Woodstock will not have students and staff return until January.

“In-person students will take their final exams at home online as scheduled from Tuesday, Dec. 15, through Friday, Dec. 18,” officials wrote to parents. " ... The building(s) will be thoroughly sanitized over this weekend in advance of staff returning.”

Lowndes and Cherokee had to quarantine students during the first few weeks of classes due to rashes of COVID-19 cases for students and staff.

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