More than 80 Nevada students may have been exposed to COVID-19 on the first day of class after a parent sent their infected child to school

Lecture chairs in a classroom.
  • A Reno, Nevada, school had wide-reaching COVID exposure on the first day of class.
  • A parent sent their infected child to school despite them testing positive, and exposed up to 80 other students.
  • Nationally, COVID cases among children are rising just as the school year kicks off.
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More than 80 students may have been exposed to COVID-19 on Monday after a parent sent their child to school in Reno, Nevada, despite both the parent and child testing positive for the virus just two days earlier, local health officials said.

After a single day of in-person class, the exposed students had to quarantine at home starting Tuesday. If they don’t have symptoms and test negative on or after August 14, the kids can return to school on August 17, Principal Brandon Bringhurst said in a letter sent to the parents of impacted students.

Students who are fully vaccinated can skip the weeklong quarantine and resume in-person classes immediately, as long as they bring proof of vaccination to school, the letter read. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said even vaccinated people can transmit the Delta variant if infected.

The Washoe County Health District said in a statement the parent of the infected child had refused to communicate with health officials, leading to the possible exposure.

“We are asking everyone, especially parents with children in Washoe County schools, to please cooperate with disease investigators regarding positive COVID-19 cases,” the Washoe County Health District said. “It’s imperative that we collect information from positive cases in order to reduce transmission in the community.”

As schools open, child COVID cases are on the rise

In Washoe County, the number of cases among children under 18 years old has more than doubled between June and July, CNN’s Chris Boyette reported. According to local data, the current case positivity rate in Washoe County is 17%.

Cases and hospitalizations of children with COVID-19 are increasing on the national scale, with pediatric hospital admissions reaching a new peak.

Still, most schools across the country are navigating an in-person return to school. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have urged that all students and staff mask up regardless of vaccination status, but some state leaders have banned mask mandates in schools. (All Washoe County students, teachers, parents, and visitors are required to wear face coverings inside, per state directive.)

In Palm Beach County, Florida, 440 students across the district were quarantined as of Wednesday afternoon. The district is requiring masks despite the governor’s ban on mask mandates, but up to 6,394 students opted out of wearing masks during the first three days of school.