Norfolk parent concerned with school COVID exposure process

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk mother is concerned with the length of time it took her to be notified of a COVID-19 exposure in her daughter’s Little Creek Elementary School class.

Sheena Mann told 10 On Your Side the child in her daughter’s class who tested positive was sent home sick on Sept. 30. Mann did not receive a notification about the exposure, which was dated Oct. 5, until Oct. 6.

“Read over it like any parent, like ‘Oh my gosh my child has been exposed.’ In talking with my daughter, she told me there were seven children out of class. That’s seven kids that were out of that classroom that has been either exposed or has COVID,” Mann explained.

Worried, Mann reached out to her child’s teacher and the Little Creek Elementary school nurse.

“Why is my child still in the classroom? Is everyone OK? Do I need to pull my child out? She reassured me that everything is fine. That we didn’t have to quarantine children can return to school, just keep their mask on,” she said.

Mann says she wishes she was notified sooner of the exposure.

“That’s frustrating to me as a parent because during that time frame I could’ve had my child out and had my child home and taken care of her,” Mann stated. “During these five days I feel like other people, I feel like other parents should be notified during this time frame and give them the decision or empower them to say hey I’ll pull my child out and watch my child to avoid them continuing affecting others or being exposed.”

Now, her husband has tested positive and all three of her elementary-aged children are home in quarantine.

“My children catch the bus, they walk the hallway with their friends, they eat in the cafeteria, they go to the library, they have recess together. That’s so many children and their families, whoever else they come in contact with, the bus driver, the teachers, that’s a lot of people who have potentially been exposed. I feel helpless. I really do,” Mann said.

When asked about COVID exposure and quarantine notification protocols at Norfolk Public Schools, Director of Student Wellness Dr. Dennis Moore sent the following:

“It occurs as quickly as it reasonably can. We want to notify them so that they are not returning to school the next day to spread COVID if they are infectious.

A Norfolk Public Schools spokesperson also stressed that families keep their contact information current to help with contact tracing efforts.

Right now if a student tests positive in Norfolk Public Schools they must quarantine for 14 days and may return to class once they have no symptoms. The two week quarantine can be shortened to 10 days with a negative COVID test taken five days after exposure.

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