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Nearly 200 Students Quarantined In Middlesex County After Possible COVID Exposure At Homecoming Dance

SPOTSWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- In-school COVID-19 outbreaks reached 96 this week in New Jersey, and now nearly 200 students are under quarantine in Middlesex County after potential exposure during a school dance.

After Saturday's homecoming dance, Spotswood High School rang the alarm.

"As of right now, we have four students that were at the dance that have tested positive," Spotswood School District Superintendent Graham Peabody said.

On Monday, several students called out. The school followed up, and Tuesday night, a notification went out letting parents and students know all 375 students at the dance would need to quarantine for 10 days since contact tracing was impossible.

That was something made clear to parents ahead of time when they filled out the permission slip for their child to attend.

"Given the parameters of the dance, dancing, eating, lights being off," Peabody said.


Sean, a senior, was at the dance.

"There was a lot of masks and stuff, and they did pretty good with the rules," he told CBS2's Alice Gainer.

They did not have to wear masks while eating or dancing.

Sean says since he showed proof of vaccination, he can go back to school while others do virtual learning.

"Now, there's not that many people in the school. It's kind of empty," he said.

The school has around 725 students. Of the 375 who went to homecoming, so far, 187 can come back.

In addition to being vaccinated, students can also show proof they had COVID-19 in the past 90 days or test out to come back earlier.

As a result, Friday night's football game also had to be cancelled.

"About half of our team is involved in that quarantine," Peabody said.

"Kinda sad. We were hoping to win it," Sean said.

The school superintendent says last year's prom went off without a problem and the homecoming dance happened with input from parents and students.

"It was one of those capstone events that they really wanted," Peabody said. "We have not received any communication from parents that they were upset by the running of the dance or the quarantine, that it was communicated."

"Not even the parents whose kids who didn't go to the dance?" Gainer asked.

"Correct," Peabody said.


As for future events, one parent told CBS2, " My kids are vaccinated, so no hesitation at all."

The superintendent says they are assessing all upcoming events and will make modifications as needed.

So far though, there are no regrets in holding the dance.

A soccer game also had to be canceled this week but other sporting events are still going on.

They are in touch with Middlesex County's health department.

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