Ill child ‘knowingly’ sent to class fuels COVID outbreak, California officials say

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A COVID-19 outbreak at a California school that infected eight kids and quarantined 75 began when parents “knowingly” sent an ill child to class, officials said.

The family was notified Nov. 8 that the child tested positive for COVID-19 but sent the youngster to Neil Cummins Elementary School in Corte Madera anyway, Superintendent Brett Geithman wrote in a newsletter Friday, Dec. 3.

“Their parents knowingly sent them and their sibling to school for seven days,” Geithman, head of the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District in Marin County, wrote. The sibling “later tested positive as well,” AP reported.

The district did not learn the child had COVID-19 until Marin County health officials asked why its database didn’t reflect the new case, The Marin Independent-Journal reported.

The district will take “corrective action,” Geithman wrote in his newsletter, but, he said, he “cannot disclose the details.” The children will not face any punishment, he told The Marin Independent-Journal.

Marin County Public Health officials said in a statement they will “respond accordingly” to the breach of COVID-19 protocols, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“Thankfully, this is the only known occurrence of a household knowingly sending a COVID-19 positive student to school,” the statement read.

Three of the eight COVID-19 cases linked to the outbreak were transmitted at the school, Geithman reported.

The quarantines, which ended Nov. 28, covered Thanksgiving break, disrupting family gatherings and travel.

“This is a strong reminder that the pandemic is not over, and we have to stay diligent, we have to follow protocols,” Geithman told The Marin Independent-Journal.

No children were hospitalized as a result of the outbreak, he said. While children ages 5-11 recently became eligible for vaccines, no students had gotten their second shots when the outbreak began.

More than 265 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide with more than 5.2 million deaths as of Dec. 5, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States has had more than 49 million confirmed cases with more than 788,000 deaths.

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