Surge in COVID-19 cases means fewer Minnesota schools meet in-person rules
State officials say some students hide cases to keep their sports going
October 16, 2020
Rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in Minnesota schools are narrowing the list of counties where the virus is spreading at low enough rates to allow for full, in-person instruction.
Statewide, more than 500 schools had at least one positive case in the last two weeks, and 24 public and private schools reported outbreaks with at least five positive cases, according to Minnesota Department of Health data released Thursday. But health officials, facing increasing challenges from parents, students and community members trying to conceal the spread of the virus to keep schools open and sports programs running, say those numbers are almost certainly an undercount.
Susan Klammer, an epidemiologist with the department, said in some communities, resistance to testing or quarantining after COVID-19 exposure has become more pronounced - and, in some cases, hostile - in the period since the Minnesota State High School League restarted school sports programs. Klammer said police have been called in cases where health workers were threatened for recommending that students quarantine, and students were threatened and harassed by their peers after seeking COVID-19 testing. Health officials have been notified of schools where groups of students have made pacts not to get tested, and to keep quiet if they think they are sick or have been exposed to the virus.