Frequent quarantines put strain on one local family

Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 7:18 PM CST
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(KWTX) - The struggle to find a balance between safety and learning is very real for Central Texas families.

Brandon Williams says contact tracing that continues to send his daughter home from school cost the girl’s mother her job.

Williams’ daughter Brynlee is in first grade at Connally Primary School, which has had 18 COVID-19 cases so far this year, 23% of the district’s total cases.

Williams says his daughter has been sent home to quarantine four times now, though she’s never tested positive for the virus.

“It’s wearing on her grades and eventually it will have an impact on her education,” Williams said.

School officials say having to send students home is frustrating for them too.

They say they’re finding a lot of the cases of the virus come from outside of school and are brought in, and they’re trying to encourage families to stay home when possible after school hours.

Williams says Brynlee spent most of the month of November at home, and they got the call again this week to keep her home for another round of quarantine.

The back and forth is wearing on the family.

Williams says Brynlee’s mother, from whom he’s separated, was laid off and now struggles to find work.

“Every time she gets a lead on a job, the cycle goes around again and we’re back out of school again,” Williams said.

When she’s out on interviews, he brings their daughter to his business to do her schoolwork.

“I take her to the shop with me and we have to bring internet with us so she can sit there on the iPad and do her work, but it’s just like when she’s in school an adult needs to sit through it with her,” he says.

“Without work we can’t make money, without money we can’t go on. Over time it’s eventually going to put people in bad places losing their homes and cars and everything we’ve worked hard for all this time and nobody is giving us help.”

A district official was not available for interview, but the district says its contact tracing protocol mirrors U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

The district says decisions to send students home aren’t taken lightly because it’s aware of the burden that puts on parents.

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