School students touted by Pence for reopening must be quarantined due to COVID-19

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Fourth-graders at a North Carolina school were asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days after a student there tested positive for COVID-19.

The school, a Thales academy in Wake Forest, said it was informed on Monday that the student was infected after coming into contact with an infected family member.

The student was asymptomatic and was the last to attend school on Friday. Teachers who have been exposed will also be quarantined.

Thales Academy, a network of private non-sectarian community schools with eight locations in North Carolina, made headlines last week after Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited a classroom and applauded the school for its reopening.

Pence and DeVos visited a campus in Apex, not Wake Forest.

“We are here today because to open America we have to open American schools and Thales Academy is literally at the forefront,” Pence said.

Pence also said the administration will make sure schools have the resources to open safely.

“We truly believe that it is in the best interests of our children to return to class,” added the vice president.

Thales welcomed the students again on July 20. It offered parents two options: fully online or fully in person, according to WTVD, a subsidiary of ABC Durham.

The students had their temperature taken and completed a medical questionnaire after being dropped off, according to WTVD. Staff and faculty also reminded students to wear masks.

Because the school system is private, it does not have to adhere to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s school reopening guidelines.

Cooper announced in July that schools could reopen through in-person and distance learning.

He said schools that choose to reopen should operate in person at a capacity of no more than 50% and buses at no more than 33%.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention influenced national guidelines for reopening schools. Originally, the federal agency warned of the risks of reopening schools and issued recommendations. But on Thursday, two weeks after President Donald Trump called for schools to reopen, the CDC changed its tone and issued statements that children were not at high risk of becoming seriously ill, despite its guidelines to origin have always remained on its website.

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