COVID cases and the attendant close contact lists have been occurring in the Harwood Unified Union School District with enough regularity that school nurses, administrators and others have a well-developed system of identifying close contacts to have them quarantine.
So, what is it like to get the call and have to go into quarantine with no warning? The Valley Reporter reached out to a local family with a child at Harwood and one at an elementary school. This family has twice gotten the call, once related to a varsity sports exposure and once related to an elementary school exposure.
To protect the family’s privacy, only first initials will be used in this interview.
“It was my younger son who was a close contact this time. My husband was allowed to go to work and I could have, but our 10-year-old needed to be kept isolated so I’m staying home with him until both kids can be tested after a week,” N explained.
She was notified last week about her son C’s possible exposure so both C and her older son (who attends Harwood) were kept home from school towards the end of last week and all of this week. They’ll get tested this Friday in Berlin and will expect their results in two days.
The first time it happened, she and both kids quarantined while her husband was off from his day job, working outside on projects for that week.
“But this time, C is isolating at the house. He’s got his Xbox and he’s doing his school work. I bring food upstairs for him on a tray. He went outside and took a walk yesterday. It’s hard for a 10-year-old. If he didn’t have his friends, it would be even harder for him,” she said.
Because she is considered a third contact (vs close) she was allowed to work or shop, but she opted to do one big grocery shop and wait out the week and two days until test results come in. She also has family and friends nearby who could help with groceries if she needed. N also said that MRVEats and other organizations were providing food to any family that is affected and needs to quarantine, but it has to be picked up at the school
“So C is a close contract and his brother is a third contact and I’m a third contact -- but I could work and go to the grocery store – that sends a mixed message. I understand keeping all siblings home when one is a close contact, but it’s frustrating,” she said.
“It’s exhausting at the same time. We’re a year into this and it’s spring and we have these new variants and strains. At the end of the day, we just want our kids to be in school more, able to participate in sports and socializing and being outside. It’s tough when everything comes to a halt for a quarantine,” she said.
She is not too worried about her son’s potential exposure. She says she feels like school is a controlled environment and all kids and teachers are wearing masks and following the guidelines stringently.
But she is following her son around with a can of Lysol when he leaves his room for a shower or walk!