Parents of an elementary school student knew their child had tested positive for the virus but continued to send him to school for seven days, Dr Brett Geithman, superintendent of the Larkspur-Corte school district, told CNN. Madera in Marin County.
The student attends Neil Cummins Elementary School in Corte Madera, approximately 30 minutes north of San Francisco.
The parents’ actions resulted in the quarantine of around 75 classmates from November 19.
Geithman said school officials at CNN were only made aware of the positive case after Marin County Public Health contacted them because it had never been reported in the database. ‘school.
“In this case, the school and public health received inaccurate information from the parents, which led to an extended exposure interval. Said Willis.
“It’s not just a violation of basic ethics, it’s a violation of the law. Willis told CNN. “The violation can result in a fine or criminal prosecution as a misdemeanor. Due to the seriousness of this violation, we referred the case to the public prosecutor. “
The district has issued guidelines that tell parents what to do if a household member has tested positive for Covid.
“We didn’t know this positive case existed. Geithman shared in a written statement to CNN. “When we called the home, we learned that the student had tested positive, failed to notify the schools, and then sent the student and his brother to school for seven days. “
Marin County Public Health shared a written statement to CNN stating, “These actions violate both the Marin County Student and Family Handbook on COVID-19 Safety and the Order County Public Health Self-Containment and Quarantine, which requires all people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to self-isolate for at least 10 days. “
The department was first informed of the positive case on November 8 by a healthcare professional. When they started the contact tracing process, the family did not provide the name of the school the child is attending. on the first call, Geithman told CNN.
Several attempts were made to ask the family to report the name of the school, but they did not respond to those calls, Geithman added. When the health department finally found the name of the school, it informed the school officials.
Geithman told CNN that staff at Neil Cummins Elementary acted immediately.
They informed everyone who was exposed by texting parents on the night of the 18th, asking them to bring their child for testing the next morning.
“The principal, nurse and I tested about 50 students and 10 staff on the morning of the 19th in our gymnasium. Geithman told CNN.
According to the tests, they ended up with eight cases in total. Two of them were the original child and his brother, while three were suspected transmission in school settings and the other three were in the household.
These students and those exposed were immediately sent to modified quarantine, which lasts 10 days. “What this means is that students can still go to school but can’t attend extracurricular activities,” Geithman told CNN, “including family reunions or travel. This quarantine period took place before Thanksgiving week, resulting in dozens of canceled plans
Reactions among officials and parents
According to CNN affiliate KGO, several parents were shocked to hear what the parents had done. But at least one relative, Jilly Martay, told the station she was happy with the way the superintendent had handled the situation.
“We’ve been successful in having children here every day for over a year now and over 99% of our families follow the rules and understand the rules,” Geithman told CNN. “This is an opportunity to take this as a call to action and ask everyone to act with integrity. We all depend on each other. “
Geithman said it was the district’s first classroom transmission.
“Their initial response (from the family) was that they weren’t sure about the Covid protocols,” Geithman said. “The process that the parent was instructed to do by Marin County Public Health was to quarantine. ”
The school district told CNN it took action against the parents, but the details of that punishment remain confidential.
“They have since sent letters of apology to me, the principal and the teachers involved and have acknowledged their lack of judgment,” Geithman told CNN. He also noted that all of the children have recovered from Covid-19 and that there has been no serious illness in the group.
“This is a community that takes the Covid protocols very seriously and acts on it. This is a unique case where a family made a terrible decision that impacted many students and included the health and safety of our schools, ”Geithman said.
Students and staff are required to mask themselves inside the classroom, according to Geithman, who says, “If we didn’t have strict Covid protocols, the consequences of this could have been much worse. “