Classroom Confessionals: Parents at odds over whether to quarantine after exposure

KSAT viewers weigh in on dilemma facing parents this school year

Stock photo of student in front of a blackboard. (Max Fischer , Pexels)

SAN ANTONIO – As students have returned to in-classroom learning this fall in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, parents are facing a dilemma on whether or not they should quarantine their potentially exposed children and when.

It’s a dilemma that has caused some controversy with school districts, leading the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to finally issue guidance that requires all reports of positive COVID-19 cases to be reported to local health departments and the state.

Recommended Videos

While the TEA guidance explicitly states that districts must exclude students from attending school in person if they have, or are suspected to have, COVID-19, there is no set rule on what to do if a student may have been exposed.

Parents who opt to send their children to school in the two weeks following potential COVID-19 exposure “are encouraged to closely monitor their children for symptoms,” according to the TEA.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends students stay home for 10 days after close contact exposure, which the TEA cites in its guidance, but the TEA alternatively states that “students can end the stay-at-home period if they receive a negative result from a PCR acute infection test after the close contact exposure ends.”

With all the guidance issued from different agencies and school districts continuously updating policies, KSAT took an unofficial poll on Facebook and asked parents - “If you’re notified that your child may have been exposed to COVID-19 at school, will you quarantine them?”

Responses varied with commenters on the Facebook poll standing their ground on both sides as to whether or not they would quarantine their children if they were exposed to COVID-19.

One of the comments with the most positive reactions from other Facebook users reads: “I don’t care what anyone thinks, but I got tested positive and because I have my granddaughter living with me and she had a cough I quarantined her with me, its horrible and wouldn’t like anyone else getting sick.”

Another commenter called the thread “comical” and said “2 years ago parents sent their kids to school after reports of flu in the classroom with ZERO hesitation. There was no quarantining. You prayed they didn’t get it. If they exhibited symptoms, you keep them home. We cannot be kept in a bubble. Everyone live your best life - whether that be masked, unmasked, vaccinated, unvaccinated, etc. Let’s stop the parent shaming.”

That was met with a rebuttal stating “2650 flu/pnemonia deaths In Texas in 2019. 55,000+ COVID related deaths so far...interesting analogy. Life must go on sure, masking in close quarters can assist with that.”

Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) shows that 11,334 people died from pneumonia and influenza in Texas between Sept. 29, 2019 and Sept. 26, 2020 - which is considered the flu season that year.

In terms of COVID-related deaths, Texas saw more 30,100 deaths from COVID-19 between March and December 2020, according to DSHS. The total number of COVID-19 deaths for Texas currently stands at more than 54,000, based on DSHS data.

One parent said if she gets a letter sent home from her district she will “probably not” be quarantining her student.

Another commenter said “No, and if you think my employer is gonna let me stay home with my kid while they quarantine for every “might be” exposure, then you’re living in La La Land.”

Parents who said they would quarantine their kids cited reasons like “I wouldn’t want any ones kids to get sick because of mine” and “mine is actually in quarantine now bc a parent sent their child to school with a positive result my baby is only 5 and cannot be vaccinated yet.”

Additional responses to the poll have been posted below, in their entirety. They have not been edited in any way.

Some commenters who said they will quarantine their students:

  • “Yes, and I would quarantine my other children as well, since they are at daycare and other campuses just to be safe.”
  • “Of course! My daughter was exposed in her classroom and we quarantined until we could get tested, recieved negative results thank goodness.”
  • “Of course i will !!! I had covid19 in January and cause of it i have damaged lungs and heart. I would not want that for anyone !!! I even lost family members and friends cause of covid19!”

Some commenters who said they will not quarantine their students:

  • “No because mine already had it over the summer and he’s fine. However, ANYTIME my child is sick he stays home no matter what. It’s a parents responsibility to make sure anytime they are sick or showing illness, you keep them home. Common sense.”
  • “No, this virus will be around for a long time. Not going to quarantine them every time they are exposed. If they are sick , sure no problem.”
  • “Nope. My third graders class has had four cases this year, she’s fine. They are all going to be exposed at some point, if we quarantined them every single time they would literally never be in school. Might as well let it happen and allow natural immunity to do its job.”

View the full Facebook post below:

POLL FOR PARENTS: If you're notified that your child may have been exposed to COVID-19 at school, will you quarantine them?

Posted by KSAT 12 & on Friday, August 20, 2021

Recommended Videos