Parents are deliberately sending their children with coronavirus back to classes in Wisconsin, health officials said Thursday, which could lead to a potential shutdown of school districts.
“The health department has been working with school neighborhoods since the spring to come up with a plan to open,” Kirsten Johnson, director of public health in Washington-Ozauki, told NBC News. “A million years later, we never imagined or thought of taking into account parents who deliberately send their sick or symptomatic child to school.”
In the counties of Washington and Ozauki, just above Milwaukee, there are plans for the fall. Johnson said that while many schools offer students the opportunity to go to school five days a week, they have all been “proactive”
More than two dozen schools in the counties are under investigation, where at least one student or staff member has tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Washington-Ozauki Public Health Management Board. Currently, out of 15 school districts, 11 are under investigation.
According to Johnson, there has been at least one positive or suspected case in all school neighborhoods.
Wisconsin, which has registered 1,268 deaths, is not the first state to face difficulties in refusing parents to follow public health protocols. Connecticut has already sent some school neighborhoods home due to outbreaks. A student at a Massachusetts high school underwent Covid-19 on Sunday, forcing all students and staff in the positive individual’s classes to quarantine for the next 14 days.
Health officials advise parents not to send their children to school if they are ill or show symptoms, and schools should continue to use attendance tracking software to calculate positive tests for the virus.
Johnson said the counties will hire more follow-up liaisons and consider advising schools to close their doors if there is a growing trend.
“The aspect of human behavior in sending sick and positive children to school is not something we can control, and we have never considered people who have completely ignored basic health guidelines,” Johnson said. “We have no tools left and we just want everyone to be safe.”
“A handful of irresponsible parents may be responsible for closing entire school districts,” she said.