WAXHAW, N.C. — As the debate over masks inside schools continues, Lincoln County Public Schools and Thales Academy in Union County have also made quarantining optional as well.
Editor's Note: Some of the parents interviewed for this story wished to remain anonymous to protect their children's privacy.
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the NCDHHS StrongSchools NC Toolkit advise that it is essential for people who are not fully vaccinated to quarantine after close contact with someone with COVID-19 unless universal masking is properly practiced.
At Thales Academy, a private K-7 school in Waxhaw, masks are optional. Parents, however, say they only learned of the option to quarantine after the school notified them that a kindergarten student had recently tested positive.
The message read, “Due to your child having a possible close contact with this student you are receiving this message.”
The school however said quarantining was optional, saying “Thales will no longer require quarantine for those who have had close contact with a student who tests positive for COVID,” and that “parents will be authorized to make their own decision regarding quarantine and masks.”
Concerned with this policy, several parents reached out to WCNC Charlotte saying the school’s original ‘Beginning of the Year Protocols’ form sent to parents never made mention of an optional quarantine policy.
“This is a very unsettling feeling when you want your child to get the best in-person instruction but you feel like you’re risking and waiting for them to come home with COVID,” said one parent, who wished not to be identified for fear of any repercussions toward her child.
The parent said she loves the school and can’t say enough great things about it or its staff, but questions how this policy could be permitted or supported.
Another parent, under a condition of anonymity, said parents who voice concerns over the COVID-19 protocols are bullied by other parents.
“They spread misinformation and you can’t say anything to the contrary otherwise you set yourself up for a blistering attack about infringing on people’s liberties," that parent said.
Other parents say they fully support the school’s protocols and say they believe keeping kids at home is more harmful than catching COVID-19.
“When my son comes home from school, he washes his hands, changes his clothes and I feel comfortable with the protocols that Thales has in place,” parent Melissa DiBattista said. She said mandating a quarantine is “totally unnecessary.”
After WCNC Charlotte's story aired Wednesday, another parent reached out saying they just discovered their 2nd grader at Thales is also positive with COVID-19. That parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “They should have to make parents informed of every single case.”
WCNC Charlotte reached out to Thales Academy to hear from them, but the person who answered said, “We are not interested.” At this time, WCNC Charlotte is unable to confirm exactly how many students have tested positive.