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Chaparral High School alerts families of COVID exposure 10 days later

Chaparral High School
Posted at 7:17 PM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 01:23:28-04

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Valley families are concerned they're finding out that their kids may have been exposed to COVID-19 at school 10 days after the fact.

Chaparral High School in Scottsdale sent out letters this week notifying families of potential exposure.

Ryan Taylor's parents received a letter 11 days after the senior was in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

The letter was sent out after school Monday, October 26 and it states the exposure date was October 15. It says because Ryan had been in "close contact," he had to quarantine at home for 14 days.

"At this point, it's like come on. Like, you've got to be kidding...with something this serious and this situation," said Ryan.

His mother Kate says the 11-day lag time is unacceptable. "We've been cautiously and responsibly living our life, going out wearing our masks. But we've been around other people and he has potentially exposed a lot of people in 11 days," said Kate Taylor.

They're now waiting on test results. "Both inside and outside of school, there have been instances where I wouldn't have been doing that, I wouldn't have been leaving my house if I knew I'd been exposed over a week ago," said Ryan Taylor.

A spokesperson for Maricopa County health said in an email:

"When a parent reports a student case to the school, the Public Health team works with the school to identify close contacts just in case the student is confirmed to be positive for COVID. But Public Health must still wait on the lab results before confirming the case and starting the notification process."

And there are other factors that can interrupt notification. Here are some examples:

-Did the parent get their sick child tested?
-Did they wait multiple days to get them tested?
-Did the lab report results as required?
-Was there a delay in lab results?

Public Health is always working with schools to improve the parts of the process within their control. As long as students do not develop symptoms, wear masks, and maintain distance when possible in the school setting, it is reasonable to wait until the case is confirmed before notifying students to quarantine. This prevents students from being kept out of school unnecessarily."

Chaparral has four new known cases this week. Their district's dashboard reported 23 active cases last week.

The district's governing board will meet to discuss a potential return to virtual learning on November 4.