With COVID-19 cases surging across Massachusetts, some parents are struggling with whether sending their kids back to school is the right decision and whether everyone who’s symptomatic has been tested before heading back to class.
"A lot of kids might say, 'Oh yeah, I got tested,' and they never did," Leominster parent Jonathan Hebert said.
"I’m going to keep my son home," Worcester parent Naomi Diaz said.
Many parents said Monday that they’re still puzzled over quarantine and isolation rules, especially in light of the recent changes in the length of isolation for students and school staff who test positive.
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"You have to worry about what the CDC says versus what, you know, other people say, how many days you have to keep your kid out versus not keeping your kid out," Rutland parent Stephanie Mistretta said.
She was referring to the fact that, while the guidance for K-12 schools on the CDC website still calls for a 10-day isolation, Massachusetts’ Department of Elementary and Secondary Education updated its guidance to five days with no symptoms followed by mask-wearing for days six to 10.
“The messaging around these issues has not been ideal,” said Dr. Rick Malley with Boston Children’s Hospital.
Malley said the mixed messaging stems from the efforts of public health experts to continue to provide the best information as they continue to study COVID-19.
"The chances are pretty good that we’re going to hear of even further tweaks in their recommendations over the next few days," Malley said.
In the meantime, without a negative test requirement, some parents are taking to Twitter to share snapshots of their child’s positive test seven days out and debating whether they should go to school.
"If their child has a faint line on their test, there still is a decent possibility that that child has enough virus that they can transmit it to others," Malley advised.
Malley said the CDC is actively discussing the negative test requirement, but the biggest hurdle to that is the lack of access to testing.