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Educators plead with the public to take COVID-19 seriously

Eastern Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Imagine doing everything you can to prevent getting COVID-19, wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing, but still contracting the virus.

That's what 9th-grade teacher Dawn Anderson said she did from the start of the pandemic and throughout the reopening of schools this fall. But one day she started to feel sick.

"I had cold symptoms, but they always tell you to expect a fever and I never had a fever, so I thought it was just a cold coming on, body aches," said Anderson.

Anderson said she tried to find a substitute teacher to cover for her at Madison Jr. High, but due to Idaho's substitute shortage she wasn't able to.
"This was all before I realized I was positive, again I didn't think I was symptomatic enough," she said.

Anderson said she didn't have a fever or any of the alarming symptoms that the CDC warns about, but she and her husband, who works within the medical industry, decided they should both get tested.

"I was positive and he was negative and the only people that I had been around for the previous two weeks was my students, my husband, and my friend."

Soon after testing positive, Anderson's husband, her friend and her friend's husband tested positive. Dawn said that leads her to believe she contracted COVID-19 from the school and then passed it along.

Madison School District #321 Superintendent, Dr. Geoffrey M. Thomas said the district cares deeply about those who have contracted the virus and that the district is doing everything in their power to follow the guidelines given by the Eastern Idaho Public Health District.

Anderson isn't alone among educators and school staff across eastern Idaho that have tested positive for COVID-19, a concerned parent and staff member at one of the schools in Bonneville Joint School District 93 told Local News 8's Bre Clark that her son was exposed to the virus.

"I got a text first and then all the text said was something about him being in close contact with a staff member who has tested positive for COVID," said the parent.

The email that followed said her son was exposed by his occupational therapist and that he would need to quarantine
Bonneville Joint School District 91 Superintendent, Dr. Scott Woolstenhulme said district board members, teachers, and parents talked about the possibility of infections while planning to reopen.

"We said when we opened up our school doors, 'we will have staff that get infected, we have students that will get infected,'" said Woolstenhulme. "We were ready to deal with the reality of that. Probably the most important message I can share is that we're all in this together."

The district said students who come into close contact with the individuals who test positive are notified and asked to quarantine according to public health guidelines, but they rely on staff, parents and the health district to provide them with that information.

According to the Bonneville School District 93 website, there have been 47 confirmed positive cases for COVID-19.

According to the Madison School District #321 website, there have been 62 new cases for COVID-19

Article Topic Follows: News

Bre Clark


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