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Kenosha News Editorial: Kids who've been sent home for quarantine should not be sent back to school
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Kenosha News Editorial: Kids who've been sent home for quarantine should not be sent back to school

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We recognize that there is disagreement and controversy over managing K-12 education in a pandemic.

But we’ve found something that shouldn’t be in dispute: Kids who’ve tested positive for COVID and been sent home for quarantine should not be sent back to school until their quarantine period is over.

The Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department is asking schools in Washington and Ozaukee counties to use attendance software to track students with the coronavirus.

Why, you may ask? Well, some parents knowingly sent their children to school even after they tested positive for COVID-19, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Sept. 22.

In one instance, a student was so ill that the student went to the nurse’s office, said Health Department Director Kirsten Johnson. The nurse discovered the student was on the list of those who had tested positive and should not have been in class.

“We’ve been trying hard to work with school districts on this to help them with their contact tracing and education, and it’s been challenging,” Johnson said. “I think for us, the biggest challenge for us that we’re experiencing right now is people are just being dishonest.

“They don’t want their children to be quarantined from school. They don’t want to have to miss work. In doing that, they’re jeopardizing the ability to have school in person and other people’s health.”

That’s the part that parents either haven’t considered, or have considered and just don’t care: If enough kids, enough teachers at a school test positive for COVID, that school will have no choice but to go all-virtual. Then, the parents who sent their infected kids back to school instead of waiting out the quarantine period will have their kids at home for an indefinite period of time.

Heidi Hussli taught German for 16 years at Bay Port High School in suburban Green Bay. Not teaches — taught. She died Sept. 17 after being infected with COVID. It’s not known when Hussli was infected, USA Today Wisconsin reported but she taught classes in person on Sept. 1, Sept. 2 and Sept. 8.

Hussli taught two International Baccalaureate classes, each of which had 15 to 20 students enrolled, the Howard-Suamico School District said. Because Bay Port has split its student body into groups that attend on opposite days, the classes would have seven to 12 students attending in person.

Schools should, as recommended by officials in the Journal Sentinel report, use their attendance software to track students who are supposed to quarantine and those who are positive in an effort to keep them from showing up for in-person classes.

More than ever, keep kids who are sick at home. For the sake of their classmates, their teachers and us all.

“They don’t want their children to be quarantined from school. They don’t want to have to miss work. In doing that, they’re jeopardizing the ability to have school in person and other people’s health.”Kirsten Johnson, director of the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department

“They don’t want their children to be quarantined from school. They don’t want to have to miss work. In doing that, they’re jeopardizing the ability to have school in person and other people’s health.”

Kirsten Johnson, director of the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department

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