Tennessee parents concerned about contact tracing protocols after students sent to quarantine

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With the Delta variant booming, parents have some worries about going into another school semester.

“We could potentially go three more weeks of contact tracing, contact tracing, contact tracing, and sending healthy kids home with no symptoms,” said Wilson County School parent Maurisa Pasick.

Pasick’s son, 13-year-old Noah, is stuck at home in quarantine after the family was notified that he came in close contact with someone at his school, identified through contact tracing. Now his mother is questioning how and when her son came in contact with someone, especially since he showed no symptoms.

“I said I want information on contact tracing. I was like, ‘I want verification that he had close contact 15 minutes or more,’ all of that stuff, and they said they couldn’t tell me that,” explained Pasick.

Pasick said sending her son back to school was a priority all summer but worries tracking COVID-19 in the classroom will be a tough lesson.

Close contact is defined as being within six feet, for at least 15 minutes of someone with COVID-19.

Wilson County School District said their contact tracing policy includes notifying the Tennessee Department of Health and parents about the contact, then requires the student to be isolated for at least 10 days. But, individuals who have contracted COVID in the last 90 days or have been fully vaccinated and show no symptoms don’t have to quarantine.

Pasick claimed her child is being singled out for not being vaccinated due to religious reasons. “By them saying ‘you’ve been contact traced, but if you’re vaccinated, you can go back to school.’ So, they have completely segregated and discriminated and kicked out the non-vaccinated students.”

News 2 was notified about another contract tracing incident in Maury County, where one mother said she believes her son contracted the virus while at school but wasn’t notified.

“I know he got it from the school because Kelvyon has not gotten sick this whole pandemic. He hasn’t had a cold or anything, and now that he’s going back to school, he got a runny nose, coughing,” said Jameshia Alexander.

Alexander said she knew something was wrong when her 10-year-old son began to have a runny nose and then complained about not feeling well. She immediately took him to get a COVID-19 test, fearing for the worst. His test came back positive. Shortly after, Alexander’s 3-year-old son tested positive for COVID-19 as well.

“For the doctor to come and tell me that in the room, not only does one get it, but both got it, that just broke my heart. I just didn’t know what to do,” remembered Alexander.

She claimed she was never notified her son came in close contact with someone with the virus. At 29 weeks pregnant, Alexander said she has a high-risk pregnancy and wished she would have known sooner.

Officials with the Maury County School District said right now the district is only tracking cases among students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

In a statement on the School Districts website, “Maury County Public Schools will follow the TN Department of Health’s guidance for Covid-19 quarantines and reporting. When a positive case has been identified to a school, MCPS will inform parents via a letter as we do with any other communicable disease.”

Thursday Tennessee reported an additional 965 COVID cases among children ten and younger.

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