Empty bleachers at Shell Lake School

SHELL LAKE– What was supposed to an "at last!" celebration for Shell Lake graduates turned into another bitter disappointment because of COVID-19.

The grads were to have their delayed 2020 Commencement Ceremony out on the football field on Friday night, July 31, but the school canceled it that afternoon at approximately 3 p.m. because several students had tested positive for COVID-19.

"A significant number of our graduates and students have tested positive, or been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID," the school said in a Facebook posting. "The Washburn County Health Department has advised canceling this evening’s graduation ceremony due to the community spread of the COVID virus."

The school said COVID-19 is showing "a very active spread" among its students and that the number of positives went from one case the day before to "6+ and 10 unknown" on Friday.

"It is alarming how fast the data changes," the school said, adding, "The results require additional testing and a window of risk for many of our students and families."

In reference to a person who posted that they should have been notified earlier, that people were traveling to the graduation from several hours away, the school replied in the Facebook posting: "We have students at various grade levels with symptoms and testing positive for COVID by the hour. While rumor can not make a decision, a plan to alter the ceremony was completed this morning and ready for student/family/public notice at the time this recommendation came."

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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