Let me preface this post that this isn’t a political post and I’m not looking for a fight. I will not argue with you in the comments because it would be a waste of my time and yours. My child was quarantined and I’m fighting like the devil to get him back into school. Here’s my story.
My 15-year-old son rushed into our bedroom and asked that I check my email for a quarantine email from the school. Sure enough, I had one stating that my son was in a class with a Covid positive kid and if he sat close enough to the kid, we would be notified. Thirty minutes later, our county health department calls us that my son is to quarantine for two weeks which means no in-person learning or the huge high school soccer tournament.
I call the doctor and request a Covid test which was quickly approved and scheduled for the next day. My next phone call was to the principal to ask where my son was sitting to the Covid positive (I’ll call this CPC going forward because I’m lazy) child. She took out the seating chart and are you ready for this? P was sitting 5’7″ from this child, behind and diagonal. 5″ is what is preventing my child from attending school in-person and participating in soccer. I leave a message for a lawyer because I want to know my rights before reaching out to the county health commissioner, my next phone call.
My husband takes P to Children’s hospital for a drive-thru Covid test.
Wednesday was like my action day. I don’t know why but I think I realized I was running out of time and kicked into action. After receiving P’s negative test results back in the morning, I wrote the following Facebook post. The feedback was not but outrage, shock and similar sad stories. What I also found was a reoccurring theme. Parents were vowing not to have their kids tested even if they had symptoms. They were also imploring other parents to do the same. Their reasoning is simple, healthy kids are missing out on in-person learning and sports for absolutely no reason.
I emailed, messaged and text the following people, hoping I would find one person out there willing to fight for these children:
- Governor Mike DeWine
- Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted
- Senator Rob Portman
- Mayor of my town
- State Representative
- The Columbus Dispatch
- NBC4 Columbus
Would you like to know how many of the above got back to me? 0. Not one person has so much as sent me a form message. Aren’t many of these people supposed to be helping us?
Later in the day, I received a Facebook message from a parent who’s son was quarantined from that same CPC. In another class, he sat in the same location as my son but 5’6″. Because of 6″, this senior and captain of the football team would miss the last football game of his high school career. He too was masked the entire time.
I hadn’t heard back from the lawyer and time was running out so I decided to say screw it and call the county health commissioner. I was expecting a combative argument. Instead, the man that answered was one of the most laid back people.
“Hey, I understand,” he sympathized. “In fact, I have a call this afternoon with the school Superintendent about your son and another kid.”
I looked at my watch. It was 3:56 P.M.
“Wow, well given the afternoon is almost done, your call must be coming up.”
“It’s actually in a few minutes. As long as the Superintendent notifies us that it’s ok to be reinstated, I’m fine with it. I played sports in high school, I understand.”
‘Was it really going to be this easy?’ I thought.
“You have no idea how grateful we are for this. Thank you so much! I’ll follow up with the Superintendent, thank you!”
I hung up and excitedly mall-walked to my desk. I sat down and sent a quick email to the Superintendent wishing her luck on her call with the Health Commissioner. Again, thanking her for fighting for us. Minutes later I received the following her response:
Are you fuckin’ kidding me? I had a grown-ass adult lying to me. One of these two wasn’t telling the truth. My feelings of hope slowly transformed into frustration and annoyance. An hour, I get this from the health commissioner:
Somewhat optimistic? No ass hole, you literally said, if the Superintendent signs off on reinstating my son, he can be reinstated. As probably a huge part of your job, how do you screw up such a serious, consequential statement? I couldn’t write him back and I asked that he call me immediately.
I Lost My Shit
The Health Commissioner called me thirty minutes later on my commute home from work.
“Wow, how did it change that quickly?” I said, trying to keep my anger to a non-detected level. Honestly, I can’t remember the conversation clearly other than it was me telling him that 5″ is keeping my son from a proper education and 6″ is keeping a senior from making a memory at his very last football game. I explained the growing trend of parents imploring other parents not to test and how these rigid rules are going to end up causing the opposite effect. I ended the conversation by telling him that this wasn’t over.
And it wasn’t.
My first phone call was to the Ohio Department of Health where the call center operator transferred me to her boss. He was totally cool and explained that this commissioner was probably passing the buck as it’s up to them to rule whether or not a child returns to school. He suggested I call his boss which might be the county commissioners? I thanked him for his help and hung up the phone. That’s when I had an idea.
I text my co-worker who also happens to be a county commissioner in the neighboring county. Not only does he know our county commissioner but he’s friends with him. He text his friend and his friend text back that he would call the health commissioner.
So that’s where we’re at now, waiting. The game that the senior missed because of 6″ is over and they lost by 14. He can never get that opportunity back….ever. At the recommendation of the commissioner I spoke to, I have yet another Covid test for my son tomorrow. I spoke to the lawyer today and he’s told me exactly what needs to be discussed come Monday morning with our school. That’s my next door.
As a parent, in the year 2020, in the United States of America, never did I think I would have to consult an attorney to allow my son the freedom to learn in-person and play soccer.
Our freedom is never guaranteed, even in the United States. When it’s called into question, we need to fight for it as every patriot before us has.
For anyone that isn’t a parent, it’s simple. If you come for our kids, we will fight like hell to protect them.