Parents have sent kids who tested positive for coronavirus to school
The Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department is asking schools in those counties to use attendance software to track students with the coronavirus after some parents have knowingly sent their children to school even after they tested positive for COVID-19.
In one instance, a student was so ill that the student went to the nurse’s office, said health department director Kirsten Johnson. The nurse discovered the student was on the list of those who had tested positive and should not have been in class.
The department has recommended schools use their attendance software to track students who are supposed to quarantine and those who are positive in an effort to keep them from showing up for in-person classes.
Johnson said there have been two other incidents in other districts where this has happened as well.
“We’ve been trying hard to work with school districts on this to help them with their contact tracing and education, and it’s been challenging,” Johnson said. “I think for us, the biggest challenge for us that we’re experiencing right now is people are just being dishonest. They don’t want their children to be quarantined from school. They don’t want to have to miss work. In doing that, they’re jeopardizing the ability to have school in person and other people’s health.”
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Johnson also said there have been issues with those in quarantine trying to return to school earlier than their quarantine would allow.
In some cases, parents have refused to test their child for COVID-19 when they’re symptomatic and have sent that child’s siblings to school.
Johnson said future messaging to the community will be straightforward: “Look, your behavior, your dishonesty, is going to result in your children’s schools being shut down. You need to be honest. You need to protect the rest of your community. The end.”
Board member Don Kriefall said that if people aren’t complying voluntarily, then further action must be taken.
“When you have parents lying to contact tracers, refusing to get kids tested, that’s just beyond the pale. That becomes very problematic for the health department to manage this whole situation. The hammer may have to be dropped,” he said.
As of Sept. 22, the Washington-Ozaukee Public Health Department was actively investigating 25 schools between both counties.
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