A photo showing a packed hallway at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, on August 3, 2020.

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The Georgia high school that suspended and threatened students for posting pictures of mostly-maskless students cramming into a packed hallway said it will temporarily close after nine people contracted COVID-19. 

On Saturday, Gabe Carmona, the principal of North Paulding High School, Dallas, told parents that six students and three staff members had tested positive for the virus, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The school reopened on August 3 following months of remote teaching necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, school superintendent Brian Otott wrote to parents saying that the school would be shut on Monday and Tuesday, and that classes would be conducted online in that period instead.

“On Monday and Tuesday the school will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected,” Otott wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by WSB-TV reporter Chris Jose.

It is not clear whether the nine infected people would be required to stay home, and whether their infections were due to exposure to each other.

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Though the novel coronavirus typically spreads via droplets, it can also survive on surfaces — and depending on the material, its lifespan can range from three hours to seven days. Surface disinfectants, like bleach, can kill viral particles within 15 seconds, though.

North Paulding High School became infamous on August 4 after a photo of dozens of students, many not wearing masks, seen packed into a hallway spread widely on social media. Several other photos also gained traction.

At least one student at North Paulding High School who posted a photo online was suspended as a result, and was told that the photo violated the school’s code of conduct. Several other students told Insider’s Gabby Landsverk that they were threatened with punishment if they did the same.

By and large, public-health experts and school teachers across the US have said that it may not yet be safe to send some 60 million American students back to school, though some experts think it can be done safely.

A protester holds a sign calling for schools to reopen seen on August 6, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.

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The White House is keen to reopen schools, despite the country’s coronavirus outbreak rolling on.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly called on schools to reopen, and threatened to cut funding to those that do not.

A new report, published over the weekend by the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that 97,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks of July, according to CNN.

While children are overall less likely to fall severely ill with the virus, they can spread it to other people. 

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