Is it still safe to send your kids to school? The concerns parents brought to Channel 11

PITTSBURGH — Parents at one Allegheny County school district are searching for answers after a recent increase COVID-19 cases.

According to the West Allegheny School District website, there are eight active cases among students and staff with another 56 people quarantined. Four of those cases have been announced since Monday.

“It’s scary because my son has asthma, he’s high risk. I’m at high risk because of mild COPD,” said parent Amy Rugani.

Rugani has tracked every email she’s received from the West Allegheny School District announcing a new COVID-19 cases. Students have been in the classroom since August.

“It’s really concerning as a parent. It just really bothers me. I’m ready to take my daughter back out of school. I don’t think that’s best for her, but with the number of cases, I’m leaning more toward keeping her at home,” she said.

In one of the emails, district officials told parents “other than quarantined individuals, there is no additional school action necessary.” Officials said the district was following “daily, comprehensive cleaning and disinfecting protocols.”

“I love the district. I really do. That’s why I live here and that’s why daughter goes to that school. But right now, I want answers,” Rugani said.

District officials sent a statement to Channel 11:

“To provide context, West Allegheny families have been given four academic options for the first semester of school: 5-day in-person, hybrid, synchronous and asynchronous. Approximately 75% of our families have opted for in-person instruction for a variety of reasons, and the District has implemented a rigorous safety approach to returning students to the classroom five days per week in order to meet our families' needs. These protocols include classroom restructuring to provide strict adherence to six feet of social distance, mask, desk disinfecting, and hygiene guidelines and thorough hospital grade disinfecting procedures. The District has also been aggressive in its close contact tracing and subsequent quarantine for possible exposure procedures in consultation with the ACHD.It is also important to note that spread in our schools is determined by case investigation that includes identifying the source of transmission. In the majority of cases, we were able to identify the transmission source, which have been related to out-of-school exposure. This is consistent with what ACHD reports for K-12 schools county-wide. We have also been fortunate to have controlled cases with known close contacts. We continue to be forthcoming with our families when providing the COVID tracker and will continue to do so.”