On Monday, more than 80 students could have been exposed to Covid-19 after a parent sent their child Marce Herz Middle School in Reno, Nevada. This was despite the fact that both the child and the parent had received a positive Covid-19 test two days prior, Washoe County Health District officials stated.
The Washoe County School District stated that the exposed students were required to be quarantined at home and began distance learning on Tuesday.
Brandon Bringhurst, Principal, sent a Tuesday letter to parents of affected students. He stated that if the child has been fully vaccinated, they can bring their vaccination card to school so that the student can return to in-person classes immediately. Students who have been affected by the outbreak can take the Covid-19 test after August 14. If they are negative for symptoms, they can go back to school on August 17.
The school district didn’t share information about the student or their parent who arrived at school following a positive test. According to the health district, the parent refused communication with Washoe County Health District staff and school officials.
The health district stated in a statement that they aren’t looking to spend limited resources on bringing charges against the parent. “We are looking for cooperation from our community members.”
The announcement comes as schools across the country are beginning to kick off the new academic year and navigating the safest way forward during a time when Covid-19 cases are surging, hospitalizations — including among younger Americans — are climbing and students younger than 12 are still ineligible for a vaccine. Local leaders in some states, such as Florida and Texas, have been at odds with their governors about school mask mandates.
Kindergarten through 12th grade students, staff, parents and visitors in Washoe County are required to wear face coverings inside school buildings, regardless of vaccination status, per state directive.
According to the health district, the current Covid-19 positive rate in Washoe County stands at 17%. The number of cases for children under 17 years old increased by approximately 2.6 times between June & July.
More than 58% of residents 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, according to county data.