Five schools in Cullman, Alabama, are closing their doors for two weeks due to rising COVID-19 cases — days after former president Donald Trump hosted a rally in the city that health officials warned could be a virus superspreader.
The Cullman County school district announced Wednesday that the five schools will switch to remote learning from Aug. 27 through Sept. 10, saying that one-third of students at the district's 29 campuses were reported absent due to a positive COVID test or contact tracing.
The local CBS affiliate reported that in addition to the school closures, multiple high school football games have been canceled.
The Cullman Times reported that as of Tuesday, the district had 107 reported positive cases of COVID-19 among students.
According to the latest figures from the New York Times, Cullman has experienced a 124 percent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the last 14 days — among the largest jumps in the state.
Prior to Trump's rally, health officials said they were "shivering in their boots" about the prospect of a COVID-19 surge in the wake of not only Trump's rally, but also a Rock the South concert held at the same venue the weekend before.
City officials also declared a state of emergency in advance of Trump's rally, with the state running out of ICU beds.
The Alabama Republican Party reported that 50,000 people attended the rally — which it called the largest political event in the state's history.
During the rally, Trump was booed for encouraging people to get vaccinated. According to the New York Times, only 28 percent of Cullman County residents are fully vaccinated.
Trump has long been criticized for holding large maskless rallies with no social distancing during the pandemic. Last year, researchers concluded that 18 of his rallies led to more than 30,000 COVID-19 cases and 700 deaths.