Nineteen students who attended an outdoor graduation ceremony and offsite prom hosted by a Missouri high school in early July have tested positive for COVID-19, the school announced Monday afternoon.
St. Dominic High School, a Roman Catholic school in the St. Louis suburb of O'Fallon, added that two guests who attended one of the events also tested positive for the coronavirus.
The school said it would cancel all student activities through August 9. "We are doing so to allow families to take the necessary precautions to help ensure a successful start of the academic school year on August 10, with classes beginning on August 17," the school said in a statement.
The announcement came three days after Missouri Gov. Mike Parson appeared to downplay the risk of reopening public schools amid the pandemic, saying in a radio interview that students who might contract the virus in a classroom are "going to get over it."
"These kids have got to get back to school," Parson told the radio station KFTK on Friday. "They're at the lowest risk possible, and if they do get COVID-19 — which they will, and they will when they go to school — they're not going to the hospitals. They're not going to have to sit in doctors' offices. They're going to go home and they're going to get over it."
"We got to move on," Parson added. "We can't just let this thing stop us in our tracks."
Parson's comments provoked intense backlash. Nicole Galloway, the state auditor and a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, blasted the Republican governor for his "stunning ignorance."
"He admitted that he's okay with your kids (and your families) getting the deadly disease when he sends them back to school," Galloway said in a tweet. "Does he not realize multiple American kids have died after being infected?"
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Here's an overview of other coronavirus-related developments making headlines Tuesday:
- Across the U.S., more states are asking people who travel to COVID-19 hot spots to quarantine upon their return. New York added 10 more states to its list Tuesday, bringing the total to 31. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, meanwhile, announced the state was asking anyone who traveled to states with a 15 percent case positivity rate to quarantine for 14 days when they get return.
- The judge assigned to hear a lawsuit filed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to stop Atlanta from enforcing a mask mandate recused herself from the matter Tuesday, at the request of the state.
- In the latest attempt to "name and shame" China’s government-sponsored cyber theft, the Justice Department announced an indictment Tuesday charging two Chinese nationals — both in China — with hacking governments, dissidents, human rights activists and private companies, including those engaged in COVID-19 vaccine research, NBC News' Ken Dilanian and Pete Williams report.
- Two potential coronavirus vaccines have shown promising results in early trials, and while experts say it's encouraging news, they warn that some of the biggest hurdles still lie ahead. NBC News' Denise Chow has more details here.
- President Donald Trump is throwing a big wrench into negotiations between the White House and Senate Republicans over the next coronavirus relief bill by demanding a payroll tax cut be included and funding for testing be reduced or cut completely, according to NBC News' Leigh Ann Caldwell, Julie Tsirkin and Garrett Haake.