Adrianna Rodriguez | USA TODAY
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Twenty-nine high school students in Massachusetts were told to quarantine after parents sent their child to in-person class despite having tested positive for the coronavirus days earlier, reports say.
According to NBC News, the student tested Sept. 9 and got positive results back on Sept. 11. They went for their first day of class at Attleboro High School, located about 39 miles southwest of Boston, on Sept. 14.
Parents learned the next day that a student who attended the public school had tested positive for COVID-19, according to a letter sent to parents obtained by USA TODAY.
“I am not naïve in thinking that we wouldn’t have exposures, but I didn’t think it would be Day 1 and beyond our control,” school principal Bill Runey said in a statement.
The student didn’t return to classes Tuesday and 29 students were told to quarantine for 14 days.
“This unacceptable outcome was caused by delays in the reporting timeline, not a breakdown in our safety protocols,” Superintendent David Sawyer wrote in another letter to families. “Our nurses diligently have identified all of the close contacts and notified these families of the need for these students to quarantine for fourteen days.”
Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux told local station WHBH-TV it was “egregious” and “reckless” for the parents to send their child knowing they were infected with the coronavirus.
Heroux said a public health nurse for the city spoke to the family on Tuesday and confirmed that they had known their child was positive for the virus before sending them to school, NBC News reported.
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According to WHDH-TV, the Attleboro school district has about 6,000 students in its system and opted to begin the school year with a mix of in-person classes and remote learning. Classes are continuing.
“I’m a little frightened for my health,” high school student Iza King told the local station. “I’m worried for my safety.”
Although the school does not conduct temperature checks, Runey said the school made it clear to students and parents to conduct a “Daily Health Checklist” at home to determine if it’s safe to go to school. The checklist includes a screening of symptoms that could possibly be an indication of coronavirus infection such as sore throat, fever, loss of taste or smell, or headache.
He said the students’ quarantine will end on Sept. 29 and students will return to school on Oct. 1. They’ll continue learning virtually in the meantime.
“My heart goes out to all these students and their health is the priority, but their learning will absolutely continue,” Runey said.
Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.