MPS mother says daughter may have been exposed to COVID-19 in class, district did not notify her

NOW: MPS mother says daughter may have been exposed to COVID-19 in class, district did not notify her

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Milwaukee mother is expressing concern about how MPS is communicating about potential exposure to the virus. She tells us the health department said her daughter was exposed at class and should have been in quarantine, but she heard nothing from MPS.

The MPS back-to-school family guide says "A child exposed to COVID-19 or in close contact must quarantine for 10-14 days from the date of last exposure before returning to school."

But Angela Holder is frustrated her eighth-grade daughter was in a classroom that had a COVID case but was not deemed a close contact. So she was never notified. Now they're both sick.

Holder says, "She was supposed to quarantine from the 2nd to the 16th. She's been in school every single day." Angela says it's not her fault, because she didn't even know her daughter had apparently been exposed to the virus until this week when the health department called.

Now her daughter isn't feeling well, and Angela feels worse. She's frustrated she never heard from the school or MPS. Holder says, "If this is district policy that you just don't notify parents, if you feel like they sit across the room you just don't have to tell them and she should have been quarantined, how many people do you think she's been around and possibly infected?"

No one from Milwaukee Public Schools was made available to answer questions despite repeated attempts, but late Wednesday, Sept. 15, a spokesperson sent this brief statement: "Positive student cases are reported to the health department. Those cases are isolated outside of the school environment. Close contacts are identified to quarantine as appropriate."

And Angela's concern for her daughter is real. Right now, twice as many children are hospitalized with COVID than at any other point in the pandemic. Dr. Ben Weston, the chief health policy advisor for Milwaukee County, says, "One in three of our COVID cases in the county last week were among children. One in three. And 13% of hospitalizations in the county were children, based on the state database."

But a child's health is not the only factor. Darren Rausch is the health officer and director of the Greenfield Health Department. He says, "While the kid, himself or herself, may have very few symptoms, the significance of COVID-19 for that parent or for that grandparent or for that aunt or uncle may be much more significant."

And that's exactly Angela's fear: her mother-in-law is immuno-compromised. So for two weeks her daughter may have exposed her to the virus, unknowingly, since she was never notified of her own possible exposure in class.

Angela says her daughter is doing ok, but is not going to school while she has these symptoms. But Angela says she's never felt this kind of pain, saying it's worse than giving birth to her twins.

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