MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Parents are sharing concerns Monday about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in schools.

The Minnesota Department of Health has been tracking the spike since kids started going back several weeks ago. The hundreds of cases a week have forced some districts to make changes, including going to distance learning.

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Some parents say the issue of mask or no mask is causing bullying concerns on both sides of the issue. Parents WCCO spoke with want some sort of protocol about what they should do if their child is exposed, and if there is a required quarantine period.

What we do know, every district is handing the COVID-19 crisis differently. Jordan Herman has a soon-to-be 13-year-old daughter who attends Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids.

“Recently I got an email from the school where it [said] masks are optional right now but highly advised,” Herman said. “From what she’s told me, the majority of the kids are still wearing masks even though it’s not required. I think it’s due to other parents, you know, just encouraging it because we’re in the state that we are.”

(credit: CBS)

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Herman is glad his daughter was able to get vaccinated, something she wanted to do in order to continue growing socially as well as academically at school.

“The fact that they offered it themselves was really a relief, to tell you the truth. It … just made the whole process a whole lot easier, and it’s nice that they’re encouraging that, too.”

Some parents say kids under 12 who can’t be vaccinated are the ones they worry about, waiting to see how long until they get COVID-19 and bring it home to their family.

Parents in the Lakeville Community say the divide over to mask or not to mask is ripping the community apart.

Parents near Montevideo say prioritizing “parental choice” means kids no longer have a safe-school option.

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Other parents who reached out to WCCO said it’s important to keep kids in school, but it needs to be safe. They want a more open dialogue with school districts about how to handle outbreaks. They also would like some kind of contact tracing to ensure parents of exposed children can be notified quickly.

Reg Chapman