Parents sent child to school knowing he had coronavirus

‘I knew that we were going to end up having some cases, but I didn’t expect they would be on the first day,’ says principal Bill Runey

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The parents of a Massachusetts high school student sent their child to in-person classes, despite knowing he had tested positive for coronavirus three days earlier.

The student at Attleboro High School, near Boston, was tested for Covid-19 on 9 September and got back a positive result two days later, but still went in for in-person classes on Monday 14 September, according to NBC News.

At least 30 people who came in contact with the student on that day are now having to quarantine for two weeks, under Massachusetts coronavirus guidelines.

Attleboro mayor Paul Heroux told NBC that a public health nurse spoke to the parents on Tuesday, and confirmed that they had known about the positive test for three days, but still sent the child to school.

Mr Heroux said he was baffled by the decision and added: “There's no question about whether or not the parents knew.”

The student’s parents told the nurse that they believed if he quarantined for three days he would be fine to go in on to school on Monday.

Speaking to CNN about the reasoning, Mr Heroux said: “The parents used very poor judgement, it's very frustrating,” and added: “The school department did everything they were supposed to do.”

The school's principal, Bill Runey, told NBC that officials found out about the student’s positive test result on Tuesday, after the child had already completed a full day of classes.

“I knew that we were going to end up having some cases, but I didn’t expect they would be on the first day,” he said.

The principal added: “Long story short, rumours started circulating around town, so someone contacted the bureau of health here in Attleboro and did some checking and found out that it was true, that he had tested positive.”

In order to minimise the amount of coronavirus cases, the school is using a model that only allows only one group of students to attend in-person lessons on Monday and Thursday, while another group attends on Tuesday and Friday.

Mr Runey said that using a contact-tracing system helped school administrators quickly identify who may have come in contact with the student, so that they could be told to quarantine and monitor for Covid-19 symptoms.

“I was pleased that our contact-tracing protocols we put in place helped us pretty quickly ID and narrow down close contacts,” Mr Runey said.

He added: “Thirty is still a lot, but if we didn't have greater degree of certainty with seating charts and things like that, we would have had to err on the side of caution for a lot more kids.”

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