Parents upset over COVID-19 protocols at Hursey Montessori School

Local News

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Parents say multiple children at one Charleston County school tested positive for COVID-19 in one of their classrooms and the district has not notified them.

They believe it’s because of protocols the district uses to report cases. They want those protocols to be changed.

Three mothers whose children attend Malcolm C. Hursey Montessori School contacted News 2 saying they want the COVID-19 protocols changed to better inform parents and even teachers of cases.

One of the parents, Toni, said they only way she knew kids in her child’s class had tested positive was because another parent of two children in the same classroom, Jillian Hollingsworth, told her that three of her children tested positive.

“That transparency really led to what we know of- five students testing positive in our child’s classroom,” she said.

Toni tested her son and learned he was positive. The women posted messages on social media to other parents in the class. She said if it were not for Jillian reaching out to her, she would not know her child had COVID.

“I immediately, that day, within hours of finding out we all tested positive, alerted the school nurse, alerted the district,” she said.

But the women say the district itself still has not notified parents in the classroom that children there tested positive.

They also learned that teachers are not automatically notified if a student in his or her classroom is COVID positive.

The mom’s love their school and the district, but they say the protocols have to change.

They want teachers notified, parents to receive an email letting them know someone in their child’s class has tested positive, and they want the district to use COVID tests on students whether they have symptoms or not, since the five students they’re aware of in that one classroom are asymptomatic.

“I have a huge medical condition. I suffer from a brain tumor and my son has asthma. So, it is imperative that I know whether or not somebody in my son’s classroom is positive,” said parent Amber Forbes.

We reached out to the district about these concerns, and the district sent a statement that says in part:

“We appreciate the parents’ concerns and requests. However, in order to avoid potentially identifying anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, we believe our current notification process combined with the COVID-19 dashboard on our district website provides a balance of sensitivity and information.”

It went on to say, “Those involved in the contract tracing related to the positive cases at Hursey followed CDC and DHEC guidelines and notified those who were determined to be close contacts following the investigation. This is the standard procedure for all.”

The parents say they want to see the Charleston County School Board hold an emergency meeting specifically to address changing these protocols.

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