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Georgia's Cherokee County closes third high school for COVID-19 concerns

Pending tests could "significantly" add to the 25 cases and 500 people in quarantine at Creekview High, the school district says.

A Georgia school district said Sunday that it will close a third high school through the end of the month amid a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Cherokee County School District decided to close Creekview High School after 25 students tested positive for the coronavirus and 500 of its 1,800 in-person students were placed "precautionary quarantine," it said in a statement. Additional pending tests could "significantly increase the quarantine total," and the decision was made with the school board and health officials.

IMAGE: Creekview High School in Canton, Ga.
Creekview High School in Canton, Ga.Google Maps

Creekview is the third high school to close in the Georgia district outside Atlanta, in addition to Etowah and Woodstock high schools. All three schools are tentatively schedule to reopen Aug. 31.

The county district began the year with around 31,000 of its 42,000 students attending in-person instruction. The school district recommended that students wear masks but did not require it.

"As we have said since we announced our reopening, we will not hesitate to quarantine students and close classrooms in an effort to continue operating school in-person for as long as possible," the district said.

Superintendent Brian Hightower encouraged students to wear masks in a statement last week.

"As your Superintendent, I wear a mask whenever I cannot social distance," Hightower said. "We know all parents do not believe the scientific research that indicates masks are beneficial, but I believe it and see masks as an important measure to help us keep schools open."

A 15-year-old boy died from the coronavirus Saturday in a different suburban Atlanta district, making him the second-youngest person to have died from the virus in the state after a 7-year-old boy died last week. The state said the teenager had no known pre-existing conditions, according to NBC affiliate WXIA of Atlanta.

Georgia has recorded more than 230,000 cases of the coronavirus, with more than 4,600 deaths, since the beginning of the pandemic.