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My child has to quarantine… Now what?

It started with a text from my son: “Mom, you’re about to get a call from the school.” My son is an 8th grade student, and he’s amazing, so I knew he wasn’t in trouble. I knew it had to be THE call. The “your child has to quarantine” call.

I was right.

The school nurse on the other end of the line was very sympathetic when she broke the news, and she answered all my school-related questions about assignments, when he could return and how the absences would be handled. But be aware, they will not divulge any information about when, who or where your child came into contact with the infected person. They’re not allowed to do this because of personal medical information.

My big worry was whether my son would be able to keep up with his classes. I admit, the teachers and the school were very accommodating. I had my son message his teachers over Canvas to explain the situation. I think his teachers appreciated this.

Most of his teachers posted all their assignments online for him to follow along, and they made sure we were aware of their office hours in case we had questions. However, his math teacher went a step further and asked her colleague who was eLearning if she minded having another student in class temporarily. So my son was able to Zoom in on those difficult math lessons every day!

I won’t lie, those two weeks dragged. Especially when you consider that a school quarantine is a REAL quarantine. It doesn’t mean that your child can just stay home from school but live their lives in every other way. Nope. It means that your child needs to be as isolated as possible for those entire two weeks. No visiting friends, no trips outside the house, and he stayed in his room and away from the rest of the family as much as possible.

Here’s something else no one tells you: the Health Department will be calling you. The first day, you’ll get a call from a real person who will talk you through the process, ask if your child is developing any symptoms and explain when the quarantine ends. After that, you can opt in to getting a text from the Health Department every morning, which I accepted. The text will ask if there are any symptoms in your household, and you reply Y or N.

Fortunately, my answer was always N.

I know a lot of people think the school district’s quarantine policy is pretty strict. Maybe they’re right. However, we follow CDC guidelines for determining which students and employees need to quarantine. Contact tracing, in direct cooperation with the Health Department, along with seating charts for each class and bus help with that process.

Learn More: When to Quarantine from

And, FYI, the percentage of students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in our district is below 1%. If that quarantine process is to credit for that, I’m all for it.

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Laura Cross
Laura Cross
Hillsborough County Public Schools.

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