CNN

Parents knowingly sent their child to school after they tested positive for Covid-19, 75 classmates were forced to quarantine

Dec 6, 2021, 7:22 PM
Neil Cummins Elementary School had to send 75 students to quarantine ahead of Thanksgiving holiday....
Neil Cummins Elementary School had to send 75 students to quarantine ahead of Thanksgiving holiday. Photo credit: KGO

 (CNN) — One family’s decision to send their child to school after testing positive for Covid-19 resulted in dozens of canceled Thanksgiving plans for other classmates, according to a California school district.

Parents of one elementary student knew their child tested positive for the virus but continued to send them to school for seven days, Dr. Brett Geithman, superintendent of Larkspur-Corte Madera School District in Marin County, told CNN.

The student attends Neil Cummins Elementary School in Corte Madera, about 30 minutes north of San Francisco.

The parents’ actions resulted in around 75 classmates being forced to quarantine starting November 19.

Geithman told CNN school officials were only made known of the positive case after Marin County Public Health contacted them, because it was never reported in the school’s database.

The public health department has a process with all laboratories in the area so they are notified of new cases. They then follow up with the school to confirm the student has been undergoing quarantine, Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s public health officer, told CNN.

“In this case both the school and public health were given inaccurate information by the parents, which led to a prolonged interval of exposure.” Willis said.

“This is not only a violation of basic ethics, it’s a violation of law.” Willis told CNN. “Violation can lead to a fine or criminal prosecution as a misdemeanor. Because of the seriousness of this violation we’ve referred the case to the District Attorney.”

The district has published guidelines that instruct parents what steps to follow if a household member has tested Covid positive.

“We did not know this positive case existed.” Geithman shared in a written statement to CNN. “Upon calling the household, we learned that the student tested positive, did not inform the schools, and then sent the student and their sibling to school for seven days.”

Marin County Public Health shared a written statement to CNN stating, “These actions are a violation of both Marin County Student & Family Handbook on COVID-19 Safety and Marin County’s Isolation and Quarantine Public Health Order, which requires all individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to isolate themselves for at least 10 days.”

The department was first made aware of the positive case on November 8 from a healthcare provider. When they started the contact tracing process, the family failed to provide the name of the school the child attends on the first call, Geithman told CNN.

There were multiple attempts made asking the family to report the name of the school, but they did not return those calls, Geithman added. When the health department eventually figured out the school’s name, they notified school officials.

Geithman told CNN that staff at Neil Cummins Elementary acted immediately.

They notified all that were exposed by sending out a text message to parents the night of the 18th, asking them to bring their child to get tested the following morning.

“The principal, nurse and I tested roughly 50 students and 10 staff the morning of the 19th in our gym.” Geithman told CNN.

From the testing, they were left with eight total cases. Two of those were the initial child and their sibling, while three were suspected school-based transmission, and the other three, household-based.

Those students and those exposed were immediately sent into modified quarantine, which lasts 10 days. “What this means is students could still attend school but can’t attend any extracurriculars,” Geithman told CNN,” including family gatherings or travel.” That quarantine period occurred before the Thanksgiving week, resulting in dozens of canceled plans

Reactions among officials and parents

According to CNN affiliate KGO, several parents were shocked to hear what the parents had done. But at least one parent, Jilly Martay, told the station she was happy with how the superintendent handled the situation.

“We’ve been highly successful of having kids here every single day for over a year now and 99%+ of our families follow the rules and understand the rules,” Geithman told CNN. “This is an opportunity to look at this as a call to action and ask every single person to act with integrity. We all depend on one another.”

Geithman said this was the district’s first classroom-based transmission.

“Their (the family) initial response was that they were uncertain of Covid protocols,” Geithman said. “The process the parent was instructed to do by Marin County Public Health was to quarantine.”

The school district told CNN they have taken action against the parents, but details of that punishment remain confidential.

“They’ve since issued apology letters to me, the principal, and the teachers involved and recognized their lack of judgement,” Geithman told CNN. He also noted all the children are recovered from Covid-19 and there was no serious illness among the group.

“This is a community that takes Covid protocols very seriously and acts on it. This is a one-off where a family made a terrible decision that impacted many students and comprised the health and safety of our schools,” Geithman said.

Students and staff are required to mask up inside the classroom, according to Geithman, who says, “If we didn’t have strict Covid protocols, the aftermath of this could’ve been much worse.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

balloons...
By Natasha Bertrand and Haley Britzky, CNN

Pentagon says it had ‘an awareness gap’ that led to failure to detect 3 Chinese balloons under Trump

The American military had a "domain awareness gap" that allowed 3 other suspected Chinese spy balloons to transit the United States undetected
1 day ago
Breakfast Sandwiches are one of hundreds of recalled products. (CNN, stock)...
Nouran Salahieh, CNN

More than 400 products including breakfast sandwiches and fruit cups recalled due to possible Listeria contamination

"The recall was initiated after the company's environmental samples tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes," Fresh Ideation Food Group said in its recall announcement.
1 day ago
A building destroyed by the turkey and syria earthquake is pictured...
Rhea Mogul, Gul Tuysuz, Isil Sariyuce, Kareem El Damanhoury and Rob Picheta, CNN

More than 3,400 dead as powerful quake hits southern Turkey and Syria

One of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in a century shook residents from their beds at around 4 a.m. on Monday, sending tremors as far away as Lebanon and Israel.
1 day ago
This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk and Southern freight train that derailed ...
Hannah Sarisohn, CNN

Evacuations ordered amid fears of an explosion as an Ohio train continues burning days after derailment

Residents near the site of a train derailment that sparked a massive fire in East Palestine, Ohio, were urged to evacuate immediately Sunday night.
1 day ago
GOSHEN, CA - JANUARY 16: Tulare County Sheriff crime unit investigates the scene where six people, ...
Cheri Mossburg, CNN

2 arrested in central California shooting that left 6 dead, including mother clutching 10-month-old son

Originally Published: 03 FEB 23 16:30 ET Updated: 05 FEB 23 22:44 ET     (CNN) — Two suspects were taken into custody, one after a shootout, in a “cartel-style” massacre last month that left six people dead in central California, including a young mother and her 10-month-old son, authorities announced Friday. The suspects, identified in charging […]
1 day ago
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 03: Grammy trophies sit in the press room during the 64th Annual GRAMMY A...
Marianne Garvey, CNN

How to watch the 2023 Grammy Awards: Time, channels and more

The biggest night in music is here with the 65th Grammy Awards on Sunday. If you want to see Harry Styles, Lizzo and more perform, here's how to tune in.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Parents knowingly sent their child to school after they tested positive for Covid-19, 75 classmates were forced to quarantine