A Cedar Bluffs Public Schools parent sent their children to school last week despite carrying a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, according to Superintendent Harlan Ptomey.
The action forced some individuals to quarantine, but has not resulted in any additional positive tests for the school. According to Ptomey’s latest update, 27 staff and students are currently in quarantine.
Ptomey said he was frustrated by the parent’s decision, but chalked up the incident to confusion about the amount of time required to isolate after a positive test.
“I think it was more confusion from everybody’s standpoint to try and communicate that and try over and over and over to make them understand what the process is and then being able to communicate with each other,” he told the Tribune.
Ptomey pointed to recent Center for Disease Control guideline changes that differentiate between the amount of time needed to stay at home during a quarantine and isolation.
Ptomey said those asked to quarantine might only need to self-isolate for five days before receiving a test and ultimately returning to the classroom. For those in isolation following a positive diagnosis, that timeframe increases to a minimum of 10 days before a potential return.
The school also asks parents to provide documentation of a negative test before their children return to the classroom. Ptomey said that wasn’t the case with this incident.
“We don’t allow kids to come back without seeing their tests, either,” he said. “Some parents don’t provide that and so we only knew this person was positive because the kid was telling everybody else. Then we had to contact the parent rather than the parent contacting us.”
Ptomey said the situation is a lesson for both administration at CBPS and parents on communication.
“We all need to communicate better and understand the process of how to quarantine and how to isolate and that there is a difference between the two,” he said.