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Over 80 Kids Were Exposed To Covid-19 After Parent Sent Their Sick Child To School

Current guidelines require Covid-positive people to self-isolate for at least seven days.

More than 80 students at Marce Herz Middle School in Washoe County, Nevada, were exposed to Covid-19 on the first day of school after a parent sent their child to class knowing they’d tested positive for the virus. Current state guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) require those who test positive for Covid-19 to self-isolate for at least 7 days, providing they test negative on the fifth day of their quarantine.

Officials at the Washoe County Health District told WRAL both the student and parent in question had received positive Covid-19 tests just two days before the start of the school year. Despite those positive tests, the student showed up for the first day of school, potentially exposing dozens of other students as well as school faculty and staff.

As a result, the families of more than 80 children have reportedly been asked to quarantine their kids at home and watch for signs of illness. “Out of an abundance of caution and due to possible exposure to Covid-19, your student must be in quarantine at home, per Washoe County Health District guidelines,” the Reno Gazette-Journal reported Marce Herz Middle School Principal Brandon Bringhurst wrote in a message sent to impacted parents last week.

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Guidelines laid out by the CDC and echoed by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services require those confirmed or presumed to have Covid-19 self-isolate at home for seven to 10 days. Individuals are allowed to resume normal activity after seven days provided they test negative on their fifth day of quarantine. If individuals remain asymptomatic and testing is not available to them, individuals are required to remain in quarantine for 10 days starting from their most recent exposure.

According to WRAL, Bringhurst noted exposed students that have been fully vaccinated can return to in-person learning as soon as their parents present their vaccination cards to the school. Otherwise, students must wait to take a Covid-19 test on or after Aug. 14. Those that test negative will be allowed to return to school on Aug. 17, the news outlet reported.

Washoe County Health District officials said the parent failed to communicate their child’s health status to the school, which represents a direct violation of Nevada statutes mandating parents keep children known to be infected with communicable diseases home from school, local ABC News affiliate KOLO has reported. But officials are reportedly not looking to take legal action against the parent.

"We are not seeking to invest our limited resources in bringing charges against the parent at this time," WRAL reported the health district said in a statement. "We are seeking cooperation from our community members."

The parent has also allegedly refused to cooperate with health district staff attempting to do contact tracing, KOLO has reported. "We are asking everyone, especially parents with children in Washoe County schools, to please cooperate with disease investigators regarding positive COVID-19 cases," KOLO reported the health district said in a statement. "It’s imperative that we collect information from positive cases in order to reduce transmission in the community."

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.