Covid-positive children sent to school knowingly – Community News
Covid-19

Covid-positive children sent to school knowingly

Parents of an elementary school student knew their child tested positive for the virus but continued to send them to school for seven days, Dr. Brett Geithman, Superintendent of Larkspur-Corte Madera School District in Marin County, told CNN.

The student attends Neil Cummins Elementary School in Corte Madera, about 30 minutes north of San Francisco.

Due to the actions of the parents, about 75 classmates were forced into quarantine from 19 November.

Geithman told CNN that school officials were not notified of the positive case until after Marin County Public Health contacted them, as it was never listed in the school’s database.

The public health department has a process in place with all labs in the area so that they are kept informed of new cases. They will then contact the school to confirm that the student has been quarantined, Dr. Matt Willis, the Marin County public health officer, told CNN.

“In this case, both the school and public health received inaccurate information from the parents, leading to a prolonged exposure interval.” said Willis.

“This is not just a violation of fundamental ethics, it is a violation of the law.” Willis told CNN that. “Violation may result in a fine or criminal prosecution as a felony. Due to the seriousness of this violation, we have referred the matter to the public prosecutor.”

The district has published guidelines instructing parents what steps to take if a family member has tested positive for Covid.
"If we didn't have strict Covid protocols the aftermath of this could have been much worse,"  That's what Chief Inspector Brett Geithman told CNN.

“We didn’t know this positive case existed.” Geithman shared in a written statement to CNN. “When we called the household, we learned that the student tested positive, did not notify the schools, and then sent the student and their sibling to school for seven days.”

Marin County Public Health shared a written statement to CNN stating, “These actions are a violation of both Marin County Student & Family Handbook on COVID-19 Safety and Marin County’s Isolation and Quarantine Public Health Order, which requires all individuals with whom the has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to isolate for at least 10 days.”
The department was first notified of the positive case from a healthcare provider on November 8. When they started tracing contacts, the family did not give the name of the school the child attends on the first call, Geithman told CNN.

Multiple attempts had been made to ask the family to provide the name of the school, but they did not call back, Geithman added. When the health department finally discovered the name of the school, they notified the school officials.

Geithman told CNN that the staff at Neil Cummins Elementary acted immediately.

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They notified everyone who was exposed by texting parents on the night of the 18th, asking them to have their child tested the next morning.

“The principal, the nurse and I tested about 50 students and 10 staff members in our gym on the morning of the 19th.” Geithman told CNN.

From testing, they were left with a total of eight cases. Two of these were the first child and their sibling, while three were suspected transmission in school and the other three on a household basis.
Those students and those exposed were immediately sent into modified quarantine, lasting 10 days. “This means students can still attend school, but not attend extracurricular activities,” Geithman told CNN, “including family gatherings or travel.” That quarantine period took place earlier the Thanksgiving week, resulting in dozens of canceled plans

Reactions among officials and parents

According to CNN affiliate KGO, several parents were shocked to learn what the parents had done. But at least one parent, Jilly Martay, told the agency she was pleased with the way the supervisor handled the situation.

“We’ve been very successful at having kids here every day for over a year now and 99%+ of our families follow the rules and understand the rules,” Geithman told CNN. “This is an opportunity to see this as a call to action and ask everyone to act with integrity. We all depend on each other.”

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Geithman said this was the district’s first classroom broadcast.

“Their (the family’s) initial reaction was that they were unsure of Covid protocols,” Geithman said. “The process the parent was ordered by Marin County Public Health was to quarantine.”

The school district told CNN they have taken action against the parents, but the details of that sentence remain confidential.

“Since then, they have sent letters of apology to me, the principal and the teachers involved, acknowledging their lack of judgment,” Geithman told CNN. He also noted that all the children have recovered from Covid-19 and there was no serious illness among the group.

“This is a community that takes the Covid protocols very seriously and is acting on them. This is a one-off event where a family made a terrible decision that affected many students and involved the health and safety of our schools,” Geithman said.

Students and staff have to disguise themselves in the classroom, according to Geithman, who says, “If we didn’t have strict Covid protocols, the aftermath of this could have been much worse.”