RENO, Nev. -- More than 80 students were potentially exposed to COVID-19 on the first day of class in Reno, Nevada, on Monday after a parent sent their child to Marce Herz Middle School, despite both the parent and child receiving a positive COVID-19 test just two days earlier, Washoe County Health District officials said.
The exposed students had to quarantine at home and started distance learning on Tuesday, the Washoe County School District said.
In a Tuesday letter sent to the parents of impacted students, Principal Brandon Bringhurst said that if their child is fully vaccinated, parents can bring the vaccination card to school and the student can resume in-person classes immediately. Impacted students can also take a COVID-19 test on or after August 14. And if they test negative and don't have symptoms they can return to school on August 17.
The school district did not share information about the student who came to school after a positive test or their parent. The parent refused to communicate with the Washoe County Health District staff or school officials, the health district said.
"We are not seeking to invest our limited resources in bringing charges against the parent at this time," the health district said in a statement. "We are seeking cooperation from our community members."
The announcement comes as schools across the country are beginning to kick off the new academic year and navigating the safest way forward during a time when COVID-19 cases are surging, hospitalizations -- including among younger Americans -- are climbing and students younger than 12 are still ineligible for a vaccine. In some states, including in Texas and Florida, local leaders have found themselves at odds with their governors over school mask mandates.
Kindergarten through 12th grade students, staff, parents and visitors in Washoe County are required to wear face coverings inside school buildings, regardless of vaccination status, per state directive.
The current COVID-19 positivity rate in Washoe County is 17%, and the number of cases for children up to 17 years old jumped by roughly 2.6 times between June and July, according to the health district.
More than 58% of residents 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, according to county data.
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