Nearly 75 students from an elementary school in Corte Madera, California were sentenced to quarantine after one student came to school after testing positive for COVID. As reported by CNN, an unnamed student residing in the California school district was sent to school by their parents after testing positive for the virus, despite the health concerns and wellbeings of other students.
According to Dr. Brett Geithman, superintendent of Larkspur-Corte Madera School District in Marin County, the anonymous student was sent to school at Neil Cummins Elementary School for seven days. In a written statement provided to CNN by Dr. Geithman, he shared: “We did not know this positive case existed. Upon calling the household, we learned that the student tested positive, did not inform the schools, and then sent the student and their sibling to school for seven days.”
As a result, approximately 75 students were quarantined starting November 19. School officials were only made aware of the student’s COVID-19 positive results after being contacted by Marin County Public Health, only because the results were not logged into the school’s database. According to Marin County Public Health, the parents’ actions are considered 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 those who have been diagnosed with the virus to quarantine for at least 10 days.
When the department was first made aware of the case on November 8 from a healthcare provider, the family refused to provide the name of the school that the child attended during the contact tracing process. Though the parents eventually avoided attempted calls made by health officials, the department eventually uncovered the school’s name and notified school officials.
On the night of November 18, parents were notified via text message that their children had been exposed to COVID and urged them to get tested the following day. Dr. Geithman, the school principal, and the nurse tested roughly 50 students, according to Geithman. Eight total cases were pinned, including the initial child and their sibling, three via suspected school-based transmission, and three suspected household-based cases.
“In this case, both the school and public health were given inaccurate information by the parents, which led to a prolonged interval of exposure,” Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s public health officer, told CNN. “This is not only a violation of basic ethics, it’s a violation of [the] law. Violation can lead to a fine or criminal prosecution as a misdemeanor. Because of the seriousness of this violation we’ve referred the case to the District Attorney.”
Though action has been taken against the parents, the school’s punishment and protocols moving forward has remained confidential. “They’ve since issued apology letters to me, the principal, and the teachers involved and recognized their lack of judgement,” Geithman told CNN. “This is a community that takes Covid protocols very seriously and acts on it. This is a one-off where a family made a terrible decision that impacted many students and comprised the health and safety of our schools.”
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