LYNNWOOD, Wash. – As the school year kicks off, parents may have to brace for possible disruptions considering what’s happening across the country with the COVID-19 delta variant.
Up to 90,000 students are reportedly under quarantine across the country because they either contracted COVID or were exposed to it. Health officials say the delta variant is more transmissible causing many more kids to get infected with COVID.
More than 180,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 between August 12 to August 19 according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Now with most schools in Washington starting next week, what will happen if there is a COVID outbreak at a school?
Benjamin Dwan sent son Dexter inside Lynnwood Elementary for the Jump Start kindergarten program ahead of the official first day of school.
“It’s a tough time having parents make these decisions on their own,” Dwan said.
With health officials warning about the raging Delta variant, some parents are wondering what things will look like if there are disruptions to the routine.
The state defines an outbreak as two or more lab-confirmed COVID cases among students and staff within a two-week period. Those people who tested positive cannot be from the same household.
If an outbreak happens, school districts would ask those exposed to quarantine. The Bellevue School District for example says it would be a 14-day quarantine for them in some cases. Health guidelines say close contacts who are vaccinated and not showing symptoms do not have to quarantine.
“It’s not a cookie-cutter one size fits all,” Dr. Jeff Duchin with Public Health – King County & Seattle said.
Dr. Duchin says schools will work with their respective health districts to react to each situation. Depending on the outbreak, a class or even a school could close.
Dwan says closures and quarantines will be an inconvenience to many families. That is why he hopes school districts will remain flexible and provide more remote options.
The Edmonds School District sent Q13 News a statement on Friday, which reads in part.
“The district is working with our teacher’s union to determine the best way to keep students connected, should a class need to quarantine due to COVID-19. Whether it is via an online learning platform or through other means, we are committed to work with our students and families to ensure this year is a success. In the event a couple students need to quarantine, the teacher will connect with those students to distribute classwork.”
As for the Dwan family, they’ve reversed their decision to send their son to school in person. Dwan’s opinion is that too many people have become lax about the pandemic and he is not surprised over the rise in infections.
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