Mass. high school pushes back start of in-person learning after more than 100 maskless students attend drinking party

DOVER, MASS. (WHDH) – A Massachusetts high school has pushed back the start of in-person learning after more than 100 maskless students gathered for an underage drinking party on Friday night, school officials announced Monday.

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Sherborn police responding to a report of a house party in the town found about 100-150 students who were “drinking to excess” and not following state guidelines on social distancing and face coverings, Dover-Sherborn High School Superintendent Andrew W. Keough said in a letter to the school community.

The owner of the home said that her 15-year-old daughter invited eight friends over to celebrate a birthday and some of her friends posted about the gathering on social media. According to the homeowner, that post spread like wildfire.

“In choosing to flout the rules set down by society in the pandemic, they have now put us all at risk,” Keough wrote. “We have no way of knowing the names of all of the people who attended the party or whether they might have been exposed to coronavirus.”

Police were able to identify some of the students who attended the party, but most of them scattered into the woods, according to Keough.

“There were students from a number of different communities, the party was out of control, there was a great deal of underaged drinking, and emergency personnel had to be called in to provide support,” Keough added.

As a result of the party, Keough said in-person learning has been delayed until at least Sept. 21 and students will start the new school year with remote learning on Tuesday.

Keough expressed immense disappointment in the actions of the community and urged everyone to make better choices.

“I am incredibly disappointed that we as a community cannot control ourselves or our kids enough to keep our communities safe. This really surprises me,” Keough said. “We know that these types of events are very high risk and similar events in our area have resulted in significant spread of infections and yet we cannot pull ourselves together enough to put a stop to it here?”

Hybrid learning will only begin next Monday if no coronavirus cases are identified, according to Keough.

Those who attended the party are being urged to get tested for COVID-19 and their siblings are encouraged to begin school with remote learning,

In-person tryouts and athletic practices have been delayed as well.

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