A Thomasville High School graduate potentially exposed multiple students and staff members to COVID-19 Wednesday after attending a small graduation event hours after being tested for the virus.

The student, whose name will not be released, was tested Wednesday morning, according to Thomasville City Schools Superintendent Cate Gentry. People who are tested for the virus are asked to self-quarantine until receiving their results.

After being tested, though, the student went to a small graduation event in the high school auditorium.

On Thursday, the school system found out from the student’s family and the Davidson County Health Department that the student had tested positive for the virus.

During the graduation event Wednesday, students, in groups of about 10, went to the auditorium to be videotaped receiving their diplomas, Gentry said, with the school system planning to edit all the videos together to virtually recreate graduation.

“We knew we could not hold a full ceremony at this time,” Gentry said. “We are hopeful we can do something later in the summer, a little more traditional. There’s a lot of kids who are going to be heading off to the military, so if we postponed it and didn’t do something like this, they wouldn’t have that opportunity.”

The faculty and staff on stage remained there all day, and everyone had to wear masks, use hand sanitizer and follow social-distancing guidelines. However, Gentry said she couldn’t say for sure if the student had a mask on the entire time he or she was present. Students did remove their masks when walking across the stage.

The traditional handshake when receiving a diploma didn’t happen this year, Gentry said, and the only physical contact was handing over the diploma.

The school system informed everyone who may have been exposed to the student, and advised them to contact their physician about what to do next.

As of Friday morning, at least 332 people had tested positive for the virus in Davidson County, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

On Twitter @LeeOSanderlin



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