"It was really poor judgment," Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux said of the parents' decision

By Nicholas Rice
September 18, 2020 11:37 AM
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A Massachusetts high school student attended in-person classes despite knowing they had tested positive for the novel coronavirus only days prior.

According to a report from NBC News, the student attended the first day of school at Attleboro High School even though they and their parents both knew that they had tested positive for COVID-19 previously. Now, nearly 30 individuals who came in contact with the student are under a two-week quarantine.

Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux told the outlet that the student was tested on Sept. 9 and received a positive test result two days later on Sept. 11. The student then went to school for the first day of classes on Sept. 14.

The school discovered news about the positive test after the student had already attended. Five other students at Attleboro High previously tested positive prior to the first day of classes, but the school was aware of their cases and those students quarantined at home.

Authorities have not released the identity of the affected student or their family.

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According to NPR, word of the student's positive case of COVID-19 began on social media before a contact-tracing team later alerted the school.

The student's parents were then contacted, where they admitted to knowing that their child was positive for the virus, per Heroux.

"It was a reckless action to send a child — a teenager — to school who was COVID-positive," he told WHDH. "It was really poor judgment."

Heroux added, "[If] you know that your child has coronavirus, is COVID-positive, you should not send your child to school under any circumstances."

School superintendent David Sawyer wrote to the families of the students in the district to inform them of the situation in a letter obtained by NPR.

"I understand that this inevitable moment is stressful for many," he wrote, before he noted that contact tracing and daily pre-screening help to reduce the threat of COVID-19, but don't eliminate it.

"However, it shouldn't change anything, he continued. "The guidance from the state cannot ensure a virus-free environment, especially considering we know that some carriers are asymptomatic."

"We will have to wait for the end of the quarantines to be certain we were successful, but there is no reason at this moment to assume differently," he added.

The high school's principal, Bill Runey, told NBC News that the school is following a hybrid learning model, where one group of students attend in-person classes on Monday and Thursday and another group attends on Tuesday and Friday. Attleboro Public Schools has about 6,000 students in its district.

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