“I’m worried and I’m scared for her.” Mom calls for contact tracing

“I’m upset with the school system. I feel like they’re dropping the ball and they’re not being very responsible.”
Concerned KCS Mom Calls for Contact Tracing
Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:39 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Eighty-two percent of beds in hospitals are full of pediatric cases across the state, but one Knox County mom is grateful her daughter isn’t in one.

“I was really sad for her. She’s only been in school a week,” said Lee Ann Large.

Large’s seven year old daughter, Emma, is a second grader at Gibbs Elementary School.

Over the weekend the healthy child developed a sore throat and cough. On Monday, Lee Ann took her to the doctor because she thought Emma had allergies. But Emma tested positive for COVID-19.

“I’m worried and I’m scared for her,” Large said.

Large texted Emma’s teacher and was told to get in touch with the school nurse to let her know.

“They didn’t seem surprised or concerned,” Large said.

Emma spiked a fever and has a headache as well as fatigue from coughing through the nights.

Large is aggravated there’s no contact tracing for any of the 932 students at Gibbs Elementary.

“I’m upset with the school system. I feel like they’re dropping the ball and they’re not being very responsible,” explained Large. “I wished they would let us know when someone was sick. I really wish they would make them wear masks.”

Concerned Mom Calls for Contact Tracing

Large said last year she would get an email every time there was a case at the school.

“We never received anything from the principal saying there had been any cases,” Large said.

Now she worries about her own health and her family’s despite all of them being vaccinated.

“We’re trying to quarantine. They’re going to be tested also just to make sure,” Large said.

But she’s not sure about what’s to come.

“I don’t want to pull her out of school, but it may come to that if this keeps going on,” Large said.

Her advice to other parents is to keep kids home if they’re sick.

Large said her daughter wears a mask in school and out in public.

We have emailed the Knox County Schools spokespeople multiple times. They said they are working on making active case numbers available.

We also contacted the Gibbs Elementary School principal, but have not heard back.

The Knox County Health Department said it will attempt to contact anyone who is identified as a close contact like a teacher, staff member, or student.

The vast majority of COVID-19 cases, like Emma Large’s can be cared for at home.

That’s according to the Medical Director of the Emergency Department at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

“We do know luckily that the vast majority of COVID-19 infections in pediatric patients would be mild to moderately symptomatic,” said Dr. Ryan Redman.

He recommends plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids and quarantining.

“The vast majority of positive infections in children and adolescents can be cared for at home,” said Dr. Redman.

Parents still need to watch for breathing problems, mental status changes and signs of dehydration.

“There are some kids who will have problems longer term related to COVID, even though many will do well in the initial infection period,” said Redman.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending your child has a follow up visit with his or her pediatrician before he or she returns to physical activity.

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