13 high school students test positive for coronavirus after unsanctioned prom
An unsanctioned prom and beach party has resulted in a group of Texas high school students getting diagnosed with the coronavirus and spurred calls for those affected to be banned from attending graduation.
At least 13 students from Foster High School and George Ranch High School have tested positive for COVID-19 after reportedly attending a prom event in Katy on June 5. The event was not sanctioned by the schools, and the group then spent the weekend at a beach house in Galveston, according to the Fort Bend Herald.
The parents spoke to the newspaper in order to discourage similar gatherings.
TODAY reached out to the principals of both high schools and the superintendent of the Lamar school district and did not receive an immediate response. Officials at the Fort Bend County Health & Human Services Department also did not immediately respond.
Stories of the students testing positive have circulated among parents on email, the anonymous parents of one boy who tested positive told the Fort Bend Herald. The majority of the students are recent graduates or currently attend Foster High School in Richmond, the parents said.
The report comes as there are currently 1,935 coronavirus patients in hospitals across the state, which is the highest total in Texas since the pandemic began. The state has had 1,830 deaths out of nearly 75,000 cases reported, according to Texas Health and Human Services.
An online petition started by an anonymous person is calling for those who attended the party and stayed at the beach house to be prevented from attending Foster High School's outdoor graduation ceremony on June 28 at Legacy Stadium in Katy.
"It will help reduce the risk of infecting all those in attendance at the graduation," the petition reads.
A sibling of a member of the Foster graduating class tweeted out a link in support of the petition.
Though I do understand that prom is a part of the "senior experience" everyone needs to consider their own safety and the safety of others. I'd rather not have people forced out of their graduation, but if you're sick you are a risk to others and you need to be held accountable.
— Maritza (@FallOutMaritza) June 6, 2020
"Sharing cuz I shouldn't have to worry about being in contact with people who show a disregard to the wellbeing of others just to have their own prom and go to the beach while attending my brother's graduation," Maritza Olivares wrote. "PS some have already tested positive for covid."
"Though I do understand that prom is a part of the "senior experience" everyone needs to consider their own safety and the safety of others," she continued on Twitter. "I'd rather not have people forced out of their graduation, but if you're sick you are a risk to others and you need to be held accountable."
Texas was also the site of a coronavirus outbreak in March after 28 students from the University of Texas tested positive following a spring break trip to Mexico.