Parents divided after COVID-19 outbreak at Lower Merion school | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools


Sisti’s daughter did not test positive with COVID-19, but he and other parents say their trust in the district has eroded, a feeling that started with the decision to return in-person full time.

“It was out of nowhere that they told parents that we were going back full time,” said Sisti, “There was really no conversation about why.”

Another parent at Penn Valley, whose second-grade child tested positive, criticized the district for not being more proactive ahead of the recent outbreak.

After one child tested positive, the district first quarantined a set of students who sat in that student’s vicinity on Thursday, April 15, but others in the class remained — some of whom tested positive a few days later.

The parent, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, said it was a mistake not to go fully virtual immediately.

Montgomery County Office of Public Health spokesperson Kelly Confrancisco said CDC guidelines were followed in this case, including recommending quarantine for those within six feet of the person who tested positive for 15 minutes or more.

“We also look at other factors on a case-by-case basis,” said Cofrancisco, “However, it is ultimately up to the school to make the call in these situations.”

In the aftermath of this incident, some parents are frustrated that neither the county or the district seem to be taking full responsibility.

“Then no one has to deal with any potential blame,” said the anonymous parent. “It’s like passing the buck ten-fold.”

The recent outbreak brought some district parents to the opposite conclusion.

Micah Snead, whose first grader attends Penn Wynne Elementary, says he feels a sense of relief. To him, the incident at Penn Valley shows the district is diligently tracking and reacting to cases.

“It made me feel better than I have in a long time,” said Snead. “It feels we have come a long way from a year ago, where we just had to react to every day something new, not having all the information, not knowing what information we don’t have.”



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