Coronavirus shuts down Stuttgart High School as Germany reels under record number of new cases
By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 15, 2020
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STUTTGART, Germany — The U.S. military’s high school here closed Thursday after numerous students tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said.
The closure of the school, which is attended by about 800 students, came as the number of new infections in Germany rose by more than 6,600 Thursday, the highest single-day rise since the start of the pandemic, the national public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute, said.
After the school reported a coronavirus case on Tuesday, contact tracing led to several other students being tested, with many of them returning positive results, Stuttgart garrison officials said.
The school will remain closed through Oct. 26, principal Rick Renninger said in a message to parents.
“The health and safety of our students, staff and community remains our top priority,” he said.
Students will be required to log on for online classes during the closure as instruction will continue virtually, Renninger said.
The Army’s health clinic on Patch Barracks, home to U.S. European Command, screened 367 community members on Wednesday as part of a contact tracing effort connected to the school outbreak.
The surge in people seeking tests at the drivethru testing site caused traffic jams all the way to Patch Barrack’s entrance gate. Long lines are expected throughout the week, the Army said.
Stuttgart High School is located on Panzer Kaserne in the town of Boeblingen, but many of the students reside on other Army posts within Stuttgart city limits. Coronavirus restrictions were stepped up in the city Wednesday after a sharp rise in infections over the previous seven days pushed the densely populated metropolitan area onto Germany’s highest health alert.
Masks have to be worn outdoors in the city center, in some areas by children as young as 6, the sale and consumption of alcohol has been banned at 19 places, and the number of people who can gather together for a private event has been limited.