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Phillips School District no longer requires quarantine for those exposed to COVID

Story By Lilly Zoller
Local News Published 10/12/2021 4:07PM, Last Updated 10/13/2021 3:58PM
Phillips - "It's frustrating at best," said Annie Knudson, a parent in the Phillips School District.

The district no longer requires students and staff exposed to COVID-19 to stay home. There was a recent COVID outbreak in the first grade classroom. The school board voted five to two to allow first graders to return immediately. Phillips parents are concerned.

"It's difficult for me to understand why people wouldn't want to do things that might make the situation safer for someone else," said Krista Nieto, another parent in the Phillips School District.

Nieto is also a health care worker. She says that the school board's decision goes against the County Health Department guidelines. Knudson says the disregard for safety measures could lead to litigation.

"So there are some legal issues there. You know, there are some liability issues with not following safety protocols, so as far as like the school insurance and things like that," said Knudson. "I mean, I think that the school could be getting themselves into some financial sticky spots."

The decision makes it hard for parents such as Knudson to feel comfortable sending her children to school. When the board voted to allow exposed children to come to school, Knudson immediately pulled her children out of school, in part to protect her immuno-compromised child.

"We've been doing this home-school type of variety thing for a long time, and we know it doesn't work for our family as well as it could for them to be in class, but at the end of the day their physical safety is equally important to their mental health," said Knudson.

Knudson and Nieto were willing to compromise without a mask mandate, but they say refusing to require exposed people to stay home goes too far. They worry that cases could spread to more vulnerable people.

"The school doesn't exist in a bubble, and so what happens if we let uncontrolled or unmitigated spread happen in the school, that affects the community. And so we have a lot of elders in our community who are then put at unnecessary risk then," said Nieto.

WJFW reached out to parents with opposing views and the school district's superintendent. None of them were willing to do an interview. 
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