Prosecutors in Corte Madera are considering slapping a couple with criminal charges for violation of public health laws after they deliberately sent their COVID-infected child to school for a week, which led to at least eight more students contracting the virus.

Around 75 students at Neil Cummins Elementary School also had to quarantine for 10 days over the Thanksgiving break.

“The case has been referred to law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office for review and action for failure to comply with the local isolation and quarantine order under California Health and Safety Code 120295,” Laine Hendricks, a county spokesperson, said in an email.

A spokesperson for District Attorney Lori Frugoli noted the matter remains under review as of Tuesday. County authorities further noted that the parents failed to isolate the young COVID-19 patient for 10 days, the Independent reported.

Dr. Matt Willis, the county’s public health officer, also said they provided “inaccurate information” to school and county authorities which “led to a prolonged interval of exposure” to the virus.

According to Brett Geithman, superintendent of the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District, the child, and a sibling, attended school for seven days following a COVID-positive test result, ABC7 noted. The parents would also refuse to respond to any follow-up calls from the county public health staff, Geithman said.

"Parents received a text message the night of the 18th to then bring their child to the gym so that we could conduct testing before anyone entered the classroom," Geithman explained, discussing the school response upon the discovery of a positive case.

While none of the infected children became seriously ill, the incident prompted tedious hours of testing and cancellations of holiday travel plans as authorities scrambled to contain the outbreak.

Such actions purportedly violated the Marin County Student & Family Handbook on COVID-19 Safety and Marin County’s Isolation and Quarantine Public Health Order, which both require a 10-day home quarantine for COVID-19-positive cases. Violations may result in a fine or criminal prosecution as a misdemeanor.

Meanwhile, the parents, whose identity remains undisclosed, have since complied with the district’s corrective action. They have also penned an apology letter to Geithman and Neil Cummins principal Kyle Shaw, insisting they had trouble understanding the COVID-19 protocols.

However, Geithman would note language barrier or economic hardship issues were not factors in the case. A final decision on the matter is not expected until after the holiday season, the Marin Independent Journal noted.

A couple reportedly sent their COVID-positive child to school, violating the Marin County Student & Family Handbook on COVID-19 Safety and Marin County’s Isolation and Quarantine Public Health Order's 10-day home quarantine mandate for COVID-19-positive cases. This is a representational image. Unsplash

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