TRI-CITIES, WA - As Covid-19 makes its way into our local schools many are concerned about how districts are handling students who were exposed to the virus outside of the classroom.
Albert, a frustrated parent who is married to a local teacher is taking to social media to voice his concerns about Covid-19 in our schools.
On a post in a group called “Flatten the Curve Tri-Cities” Albert writes in part, "I just wanted to share with all you how things are being handled in Pasco School District (I assume the same story for Kennewick and Richland).... It was just the second day after opening the school that both parents of a kid (~5yrs old) tested positive for COVID19. The kid was never tested; therefore nobody really knows whether he is positive or not. However, PSD seems that will ONLY “take action” whether a kid is positive [confirmed] or has developed symptoms. How do you know if a kid is positive if the parents won’t test him? What if the kid is asymptomatic and never develop symptoms?"
NBC Right Now reached out to Albert and we have not heard back.
Shane Edinger, Public Affairs Director for the Pasco School District sent us a written response reading in part:
"The school did not learn of the positive household member test until after the student left school on Tuesday. The District -strictly followed its notification and quarantine protocols, which follow the criteria and recommendations from the Benton-Franklin Health District."
Now, according to the Health District Guidelines anyone at a school with close contact to a positive or probable case, during the infectious period should leave the school for at least 10 days. And according to the Benton Franklin Health District a close contact is defined as: "Individuals within 6 ft for 15 or more minutes to a confirmed case during the infectious period."
Edinger says no students were identified as close contacts.
The full statement from the Pasco School District can be found below:
"The school did not learn of the positive household member test until after the student left school on Tuesday. The District strictly followed its notification and quarantine protocols, which follow the criteria and recommendations from the Benton-Franklin Health District. Those protocols include:
- The student will quarantine and not return to school for the time recommended by the health department.
- Any staff identified as close contacts were notified and will quarantine for the time recommended by the health department. No students were identified as close contacts.
- If either the student or a close contact tests positive for COVID-19, a notice will be sent out to staff and to the school.
The District’s process for notifications follows the recommendations we’ve received from the Benton-Franklin Health District. In addition, the custodians at our schools deep clean all classrooms on Wednesdays, in preparation for Cohort B students who will attend classes on Thursday and Friday. The same process is followed after school on Fridays, in preparation for Cohort A students who will attend classes on Monday and Tuesday.
In all situations where a student or staff member lives with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, that person should not attend school or work. The District does not test students. However, we can recommend testing to families and recommend they follow up with their health care provider.
The District asks that all families or caregivers conduct a COVID-19 screening with their student(s) on each day that a student attends classes at their school. The screening must occur before school, including before the student rides the bus or engages in any school activity.
To complete the daily health screening, the parent, guardian or care giver must ask these questions each day the child will attend in-person classes:
- Is the child currently waiting for a COVID-19 test result?
- Has the child tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days?
- Within the last 14 days, has the child been in close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19?
- Within the last 14 days, has the child been told by a medical professional to isolate or quarantine?
- Since the child last attended school, has the child experienced any one of the following symptoms:
- A fever over 100.4 degrees?
- A cough or difficulty breathing?
- A loss of taste or smell?
- Headache, muscle aches, or body aches?
- Sore throat?
- Runny nose or congestion?
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, the student is required to stay home. Parents should contact the school to excuse the absence and tell the school the child did not pass the health screening. A member of the school’s COVID-19 support team will contact parents to determine when the child can return to school.
A parent, guardian, or care giver who sends a child to school attests that the answer to all of these questions is “no” and that the child has passed the daily health screening.
In addition to the daily health screening, Parents are required to submit a written attestation and agreement to conduct daily health screenings for their student(s). The form is due at the start of each trimester. The form is available through the Parent Portal, on the PSD website, and in paper at the child’s school. School staff will verify that a form is completed for each child."