Nearly 30 Massachusetts students must quarantine for 14 days after a fellow student went to school despite having tested positive for COVID-19.
The Attleboro High School student was tested for coronavirus on Wednesday, Sept. 9, and received a positive result on Friday, Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux told HuffPost. The parents then sent the student to school on Monday.
Heroux said the student should have been kept isolated after the test date. The city’s contact tracing team identified the issue on Monday afternoon. When authorities contacted the family Tuesday morning, he said, the parents confirmed they were aware their child was infected but thought they could still go to school after quarantining for several days. He said that the student had posted about his diagnosis on Snapchat, prompting chatter on social media pages.
“A lot of parents are very angry at the parents who sent the kid to school,” the mayor said.
Authorities have not identified the student. There are currently six known active coronavirus infections in the school district of 6,000 students.
“If parents know that they have a child who is COVID-positive, they need to keep the kid home. If they are awaiting results, they really should keep the kid home,” Heroux said. ”If the child has come into contact with someone who is COVID-positive, we encourage them to reach out to the nurse, the school or to contact the city health nurse. Everybody should be self-monitoring for symptoms.”
Superintendent David Sawyer notified other parents in a letter Tuesday night.
“This unacceptable outcome was caused by delays in the reporting timeline, not a breakdown in our safety protocols,” he said in a copy of the letter provided to HuffPost.
“I understand that this inevitable moment is stressful for many,” he said. “However, it shouldn’t change anything. The guidance from the state cannot ensure a virus-free environment, especially considering we know that some carriers are asymptomatic.”
Sawyer said that contact tracing and daily prescreening were in place to help reduce the threat.
“We will have to wait for the end of the quarantines to be certain we were successful, but there is no reason at this moment to assume differently,” he wrote.
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By David Aaron
October 20, 2020