School students stuck in COVID quarantines, are changes on the horizon?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — If you’ve got school-aged children, chances are you’ve had to deal with COVID testing or quarantining already this school year. It’s a process that’s becoming frustrating for many families who are worried about the length of time their kids are having to spend out of the classroom.

Marla Vogler has two kids who go to Churchville-Chili High School. Last week her son, a senior, tested positive for COVID-19.

“I got the call shortly after my freshman went to school so, I had to go to school and get her,” she told News10NBC.

Her daughter had to go straight into quarantine because her son was COVID-positive.

“I mean she’s perfectly healthy and she’s just sitting here for days,” Volger said.

Vogler’s daughter has been trying to keep up with her work on Google Classroom but, “she’s missed four days waiting and you know at certain levels the kids can get pretty behind pretty quickly,” she said.

Making matters worse, her daughter was already out for four days earlier this year while waiting for COVID test results.

“She has no opportunity to Zoom into her classes,” Vogler said, “I’m very sympathetic to the fact that they have a lot going on and things change all the time but I just feel like since we did this already we can have a better plan there could be a better way to go about it.”

A spokeswoman for Churchville-Chili tells News10BC, “Students do have access to their daily assignments through Google Classroom and are encouraged to email teachers to request support or assistance as needed regardless of their reason for absence. I would definitely encourage the family to reach out to the student’s school counselor or assistant principal with these concerns if they haven’t done so already, as they can put extra supports in place for students in need.”

This is an issue families across the region in all different school districts are dealing with and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon, especially when a student’s close contact is a sibling.

“When we see that there are initial cases in a household and then two or three days later we see two or three more people in that same household the conclusion is pretty clear there is in-home household spread,” explained Monroe County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza.

As for whether there are any additional testing options being considered that could keep non-symptomatic students who’ve had an exposure in class, “That is being considered at a state level. Until now we have not used the test to get yourself out of quarantine because the largest risk for being quarantined is the fact that you have a contact but there is a risk and a benefit there,” Dr. Mendoza explained.