Parents pulling kids from school over coronavirus concerns

Published: Mar. 10, 2020 at 4:38 PM EDT
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The Barry-Eaton District Health Department is now monitoring someone who recently traveled to Italy.

A staff member at the Eaton Rapids Public Schools (ERPS) is being quarantined at home for 14-days after showing up to work Monday.

Eaton Rapids Public Schools said the risk of students catching the coronavirus from the staff member is low.

That's not stopping some parents from pulling their kids from school.

"I took my lunch break and decided to come pick him up," said Cheyenne Thomas.

Thomas was one of many parents picking their kids up early from Greyhound Intermediate Tuesday.

ERPS said a staff member showed up to work Monday after returning from Italy, which is a high-risk zone for the coronavirus.

Thomas said she's worried about her son bringing the virus home to younger siblings.

"He's very susceptible to any kind of virus. He's been sick a lot this year. I'm just worried about something happening to one of the younger kids," she said.

The school did notify parents Monday night but did not close the school.

"I'm a little disappointed everything is still going on as normal. But, they have an obligation to uphold so I understand," said Thomas.

Superintendent Bill DeFrance said when he found out the staff member returned to work, he got the health department involved.

He said right now there's no need to close school.

"The report said she was a-symptomatic, so she showed no signs. So this was just a precautionary measure that she was going to stay home for 14 days," said DeFrance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus has an incubation period of 14 days.

It also said it could spread before anyone shows any symptoms.

DeFrance said that's why areas where this staff member works is seeing a deep clean.

That process will continue throughout the district.

"It's nice they are taking the precautions until we find out otherwise," Thomas said.

The Barry - Eaton District Health Department told News 10 this is the only potential case of coronavirus it is monitoring.

It said this person will not be tested for coronavirus unless they begin to show symptoms.

As of Tuesday afternoon, no one in Michigan has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

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