With twins at Pocalla Springs Elementary School, Bridget Conyers says she is in a difficult situation with one child in quarantine and the other one still at school.
On Thursday after contact tracing of a positive COVID-19 case at Pocalla Springs, school officials called Conyers and said her son Mason would need to quarantine because he was determined to be a "close contact," but her daughter Charli would not.
The 8-year-olds are not in the same classroom, and Charli was determined not to be a "close contact" of the positive case at the school.
In the scenario, Charli is basically a "close contact" of a "close contact," and under current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, she is considered a "third-party contact" and can continue at school, while Mom monitors her condition.
Before he can return to Pocalla Springs after a 10-day period, Mason must have a negative COVID-19 test, but Conyers said if he tested positive, then the policy seems counter-productive.
"Great, if he comes up negative, but what if he comes up positive?" she said. "Then, in the meantime, because Charli wasn't quarantined, too, then she is taking the germs to school and nobody is knowing it."
Fortunately, Mason's COVID-19 test on Friday was negative, Conyers said, but a lot of parents in the district are in a similar position if they have siblings.
"It's very close contact being in the same household," she said. "It makes no sense to me."
A district spokeswoman said the district continues to ask all parents to monitor their child's condition every day and to not send them to school if they are sick.
As of Monday afternoon, the district had 1,347 students in quarantine, including positive COVID-19 cases, according to its COVID-19 dashboard, but its largest school - Sumter High School - had not input any data. It was the only school to not include any data in the district's dashboard.
WHAT ABOUT LIBERTY STEAM CHARTER?
Sumter's new public charter school, Liberty STEAM Charter School, had 48 students - or two classes - in quarantine as of Monday afternoon, according to Chief of Staff Trevor Ivey. That is 25% of Liberty's total enrollment of 192 students. In its first year and located at 15 School St., Liberty has nine total classes this fall.
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