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Frankfort parent frustrated with new school contact tracing guidelines

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Posted at 7:05 PM, Aug 13, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Frankfort Independent School District parent is advocating for more transparency due to the new guidelines on school contract tracing.

Sharon Tallon has two daughters at Second Street School in Frankfort.

She reached out to the school for answers after her daughter was sent home sick and told to get tested for COVID.

"I was like why I haven't heard anything about it," said Tallon.

After inquiring she found out that multiple students tested positive and close contacts were in quarantine; That made her furious.

"I felt some type of way because how are you going to text me every single day about the traffic situation but not inform the parents that there were one, let alone three or how many ever," said Tallon.

Superintendent of the district, Houston Barber says four students have active COVID cases and 36 are in quarantine. However, he says the situation is under control.

"I think it's contained," said Barber. "Because of the mitigation strategies we're using and as much as possible in our classrooms for spacing adjustments. Have less interaction with other students in the way of having too much exposure and so we feel strongly about our protocols," said Barber.

Barber says an email will go out to parents on Friday. However, before they could send it, Tallon decided to take matters into her own hands.

During after-school pick-up, she went car to car, explaining the situation to parents.

"I want to make sure that these parents are well aware of what they're sending their kids to. And if they don't like what I got to say okay, but if you do take in consideration that, if we don't stand up, they're going to continue to do what they want," said Tallon.

For Tallon, it's a transparency issue. She feels like she should've been notified immediately about any cases without having to ask.

"I want to know everything," Tallon explained. "That's just where I'm at with it. They're not being open with the parents about the cases now. I had to do such informative research to find out. Now I want to know if they're lying. Is there more?"

The Franklin County Health Department says while this is a valid request for parents, the protocol has changed. This year schools aren't required to notify everyone about everything, only if they were within three feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes.

"Last year they did an all call every time there was a positive case in this year, you know through trial and error, they'll work out the kinks of exactly how they want to identify if your child has been a contact or not," said Deputy Director Brittany Parker.

Parker says right now parents in the district do not need to be overly concerned.

"No news is good news and sometimes, regardless of the situation, we don't want to cause any chaos or panic among kids but the schools are doing a great job doing their contact tracing ensuring that those kids are safe and healthy, and remain with in-person instruction in schools," said Parker.

In June, the definition of a school outbreak according to the CDC was changed from two or more cases from separate households to five or more.